Malawi and Namibia have rallied behind Zimbabwe against the illegal sanctions imposed by the West, saying they are negatively affecting the whole SADC region, which has since declared October 25 as the anti-sanctions solidarity day.
SADC countries are expected to carry out different activities on October 25 to register their disapproval of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
The move was made in a resolution at the regional body’s 39th summit in Tanzania in August.
In an interview yesterday, Malawian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Annie Kumwenda said Malawi could not continue to turn a blind eye on sanctions, but it was high time that the region united and spoke with one voice against the embargo.
“SADC leadership agreed to stand in solidarity with its brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe,” she said. “The Malawian president has also spoken against sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“The sanctions have affected the whole of SADC member states and we feel the pinch in terms of trade. We are having challenges to trade with Zimbabwe because its economy has gone down and its almost 20 years now since the imposition of sanctions.
Previously, people from Malawi used to go to Zimbabwe to buy different commodities, but they are now going beyond Zimbabwe. We now have to travel beyond Zimbabwe and this is affecting all countries in the region.
“People from Malawi used to access education in Zimbabwe. We cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in Zimbabwe and cannot pretend we are not affected. SADC is one family. If a finger is bleeding, then the whole body feels the pain.”
This comes as the Namibian government has endorsed the engagement of local stakeholders to come up with measures to push for the lifting of the illegal economic embargo against Zimbabwe.
The Namibian government announced through a post-Cabinet brief on Friday last week that it was in support of the anti-sanctions campaign against Zimbabwe to show solidarity to a SADC member state.
“Cabinet took note of the report on the 39th SADC summit of Heads of State and Government and directed the following offices to take action in their areas of responsibility,” said the Cabinet brief in part.
“Ministry of International Relations must engage local stakeholders on the strategy to be employed by Namibia to amplify the call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by October 25 as endorsed by the SADC summit.”
Zimbabwe was slapped with both economic sanctions and travel restrictions for some by the United States through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in 2001 and the European Union also joined in with their own version of restrictions.
The sanctions have had a devastating effect not only on Zimbabwe, but throughout the entire region, as they have disrupted trade and other economic activities among the countries.
The region voiced its concerns at the 74th United Nations General Assembly last month.
In a communiqué of the 39th SADC Summit of the Heads of State and Government that was read out in August to mark the end of the indaba, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said the embargo was militating against economic growth in both Zimbabwe and the region.
President Mnangagwa in his address to the 74th Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74) last month said the illegal and ruinous sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West had markedly slowed down the country’s development. — Herald Reporter/Xinhua