Pupurai Togarepi Special Correspondent
In the decades that the European Union (EU) and the United States of America have maintained illegal and punitive sanctions on Zimbabwe, the country, according to empirical evidence, has lost US$98 billion and as long as the illegal and unjustified sanctions are retained, our country will continue losing, bleeding its citizens and styming our growth projections.
The amount, US$98 billion, is staggering, a figure so high that it could transform our economy and create jobs for our youths.
Figures are stubborn, they sear to the heart and even the sanctions denialist cannot and will not dispute the figure, for even though they consorted with our erstwhile colonisers for the imposition of illegal sanctions, after a sobering defeat in elections, they cannot escape the biting consequences.
All of Zimbabwe is affected by the sanctions; they know no colour, even though they were imposed as a cowardly reaction to the land reform programme on the basis of colour.
A brief background will suffice; the imposition of the illegal sanctions was a reactionary move to the revolutionary step that responded to historical questions, in fact the foremost reason why an otherwise plaint, so the white man thought, populace decided to throw their ploughs away and opted for bazookas, needless to say the war was brutal and ended with the defeat of the white man.
But unrepentant, the white man continued on his evil ways, milking us dry as a compromise constitution that was authored in the halls of Lancaster, provided him with a grace period that he ungracefully used, mistakenly taking our patience for cowardice. It was a mistake.
When a nascent rebellion in Marondera, when the Svosve people tried to rebel in the 1990s demanding that they be given back the land of their fathers that was forcibly taken by bullets and bayonets, our Government thought it wise to delay the process.
After all, we had waited for 14 years to talk about land redistribution to allow our cousins in South Africa where apartheid reigned supreme to get their independence, any bold action on our part would have meant a tightening of the grip across the Limpopo for the white man is never really at ease just as are most crooks and land grabbers when black people demand equity and equality.
A few years later, the Svosve people, the microcosm of the macro-cosmic national sentiment regarding the question of land, were later to learn that delay is not denial after the land reform programme was executed across the country, with surgical precision. The bones of our fore-bearers, who lay in caves, in foreign lands and are indeed entombed in all sorts of graves rose.
It was an euphoric moment, a raison d’être for our long and epic struggle for total emancipation.
Land is the ultimate source of wealth. The farms are not only for agrarian purposes, remember this for ages to come, until rivers run dry and cities lie waste, so to partly quote the Bible, the land contains minerals and other precious gifts, so our source of capital and wealth is fundamentally linked to the land of our ancestors whose riches as I posited earlier are both a curse and cure.
To the simpleton and uninitiated, nay to tillers of land that the white man reserved as tribal trust land, there is little value in land or its ownership but that is because our erstwhile colonisers compactarised into bantustans, to use the apartheid term, where the soils were not only barren but also bereft of any valuable minerals beneath. All the while they mined “on their farms”, built empires ostensibly from their agricultural skills but really from covert mining and other illicit dealings they enjoyed as a privileged class.
Come 2000, when the late president Robert Mugabe opened the floodgates for farm invasions, itself a misnomer since it was actually land repossession, the Western world source of wealth was under threat, their means of expropriation was being undone, they felt affronted, red angry they decided to strike back and imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
But to make their case, they cried victim first, they spoke of human rights abuses, they made their case, cast us as villains and a lawless bunch that was threatening property rights and feigning righteousness, they conveniently forgot of their dastardly deeds both on the farms where they treated black labourers as second class citizens only fit as beasts of burden and their repugnant past deeds when they lynched our enslaved kith and kin in lands they had exterminated the original bearers to form their own outpost of imperialism and colonialism.
As we remained defiant they imposed illegal sanctions on us — not because of human rights abuses, not because of good or bad governance, they are worse outposts of tyranny and authoritarian rule in the world that have not been hit by sanctions. The reason was because of the land, in Shona parlance “varungu vakabvutirwa chingwa pamuromo”.
That was and still is the reason for their umbrage.
But hold on, now Africa, after years of being divided and pursuing narrow parochial interests, has come of age, the age of African Renaissance and consciousness, the age when an injury to one is an injury to all. If Africa is speaking against sanctions, specifically setting a date for their denouncement, who are you, a Zimbabwean not to be aroused. These sanctions affect us more than our Sadc brothers.
The spirit of ubuntu saw African States, particularly Sadc, speaking with the same clarion and unequivocal voice against SANCTIONS, President Ramaphosa, President Lungu, President Magufuli and President Geingob spoke against sanctions and in an unprecedented step declared October 25, an Anti-Sanctions Day in Sadc. What an honour and what a humbling tribute from our brothers in the region!
And my dear friend, whatever your political inclinations, this is our war to have our way, we will not prosper until this albatross hanging on our necks is removed.
This is not a Zanu PF war alone, this is a war of our times, a war of good against evil, a war of Zimbabwe against illegal sanctions, a war that we have to wage and win as a collective, no one should be left behind, let us all pour into the streets on October 25 as we did on November 18 2017, and speak against the illegal sanctions.
We are a small country with a young population, we don’t want a piece of Europe, all we want is to be equal members of international organisations and have similar opportunities. We are the Second Republic and we are doing things anew. We don’t seek conflict with any Country, yes we seek cooperation at equal footing with all citizens of this beautiful planet. It is my hope that after the 25th of October 2019, the anti sanctions day in support of Zimbabwe by Sadc, the international community will encourage the West to remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
We are sons and daughters of soil let’s show the world what we are made of for we will never have another country but Zimbabwe, my brother, my sister we have a role to play in the removal of the yoke of domination that continue to weigh us down.