By Leopold Munhende
Government has lined up massive festivities for this month’s anti-sanctions campaign, a SADC initiative that will see some of the country’s regional allies also stage similar activities in support of their troubled neighbour.
This was revealed by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa at a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday.
“On this particular day (October 25), the whole of SADC will be in solidarity with Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of the illegal and unjustified sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some western nations,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“In Harare, the march will be towards the National Sports Stadium where government, business, religious institutions, the academia, civic society and various other social groups will call for the unconditional removal of those illegal sanctions.
“The proceedings at the National Sports Stadium will culminate in the staging of the Anti-Sanctions musical gala by various artists. Similar events will also be held at all our provincial capitals and district centres across the country.”
However, Minister Mutsvangwa did not disclose how much government has set aside for the staging of the festivities.
October 25 was set aside at the last SADC summit in Tanzania by leaders who agreed to have their respective countries stage various forms of activities to try and persuade America and Europe to scrap targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Under late former President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe was slapped with US sanctions in 2001 and European Union measures 2003 over alleged poll theft and rights abuses.
The Zanu PF led administration insists the diplomatic interventions were illegal according to UN statutes.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same media conference, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo blamed the sanctions for the country’s continued failure to procure essential medicine for use in its public hospitals.
Moyo said government has failed to access the required foreign currency to procure drugs as a result of the embargo.
“The situation that we now face in our hospitals, where we hear doctors say there is no equipment, no medicine, it is because of the shortage of foreign currency, foreign currency we would normally get if there were no sanctions.
“Because of the sanctions imposed on us, we end up with people dying on a national scale rather than on an individual basis. Whoever said they are targeted is wrong, this is a horrible effect on the health care system.”
Striking public hospital doctors on a six week job action have declared “incapacitation” and refused to follow a Labour Court ruling ordering them back at work by last Monday.
Moyo said they will use the law to deal with the worsening situation.