Sanctions Undermine Our Peace, Unity and National Cohesion

Address by His Excellency, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr E.D Mnangagwa at the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day

Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairman of the African Union;

Your Excellency President Filipe Nyusi, Chairman of the Southern African Development Community, SADC;

Your Majesties;

Excellencies, SADC Heads of State and Government;

Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC,

Our SADC Citizens,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Comrades and Friends.

Today, marks the 1st Anniversary since SADC declared 25 October as the Regional Anti-Sanctions Day. It is on this day that SADC member states collectively call for the unconditional removal of the illegal and debilitating sanctions imposed on our country, Zimbabwe.

This bold decision and show of solidarity is a reflection of the principles revolutionary character of our regional body, which has consistently opposed injustices and oppression. This has its genesis in our rich liberation heritage and must embolden us to face head on, the neo-colonial machinations by detractors and opponents of the ethos, values and ideologies of Former Liberation Movements.

Fellow Africans, Global Allies and Friends,

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) and Executive Orders by the Government of United States of America, have constrained the much needed development of our country, for nearly 20 years.

Due to the sanctions, Zimbabwe has had limited access to multi-lateral and financial support from the International Financial Institutions.

The cumulative effect of these illegal sanctions has been devastating in every sector of our economy. Sanctions are a blunt coercive instrument with far reaching implications on the ordinary people, especially women, children, youths, the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

My country’s citizens have fallen victim to this indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction which is being deceitfully presented to the world as targeted.

Furthermore, sanctions have limited Zimbabwe’s capacity to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are grateful to those nations and organisations who have stood by us and supported us in fighting the pandemic.

Sanctions are without doubt a form of aggression against my country and a tool of regime change. Coupled with the vicious cyber-attack and hostile propaganda calculated to divide Zimbabwe, sanctions undermine our peace, unity and national cohesion.

The cyber-attacks on my country are built on gross falsehoods and non-existent narratives of a nation in crisis. I would like to once again reiterate that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.

We are a peaceful nation, on the path of implementing robust reforms across all socio-economic and political spheres, to entrench Constitutionalism. Our focus is on improving the quality of life of our people and leapfrogging our national development.

Excellencies and Fellow SADC Citizens

On behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and indeed on my own behalf, I want to yet again express our profound gratitude to the SADC Heads of State and Government for taking this historic decision in Tanzania; itself the cradle of all liberation movements of Southern Africa.

We are also appreciative of the many more voices calling for the unconditional removal of these illegal sanctions. This posture by SADC is indeed in line with our mantra, “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

Going forward, Africa and SADC must resolutely consolidate the gains of our constitutive acts, solidarity, unity of purpose and peace in defending one another in the face of foreign aggression and all forms of neo-imperialism. Africa is an awakening giant equipped with its rich heritage and indigenous knowledge system Ubuntu which says, “I am because we are”.

Let us be, our brother’s keeper and protector.

Additionally, let us leverage on the abundant and diverse natural resources within Africa to grow our economies and improve the quality of life of our people. In line with the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; mutual corporation and trade must be promoted.

Intra-regional and continental synergies, science, technology, innovations and inventions must be encouraged towards a more prosperous, modern, industrialised and empowered Africa. To this end, we remain committed to play our part within the comity of nations towards the success of multilateralism and a peaceful world, with a shared future.

Excellencies and fellow SADC Citizens,

This year’s Anti-Sanctions Day is being held under the theme: “Resilience, Solidarity and Progress in a Sanctions Environment”.

This theme is appropriate as it speaks to the difficult road Zimbabwe has travelled as an independent and sovereign nation. Surviving under the baneful shadow of sanctions has not been easy for us. It equally refocuses us to gird our strength and draw from our national endowments to develop our country and improve the plight of our citizenry, in spite of the apparent odds against us.

Our people have borne the brunt of these illegal sanctions. They continue to make huge sacrifices for our sovereignty and territorial integrity. I applaud their resilience, courage, fortitude, and unflinching determination in enduring the impacts of the illegal sanctions.

As a nation, let us never doubt the certainty of our victory over these illegal inhumane embargoes.

We must continue to increase production and productivity across all sectors of the economy. SADC deserves a Zimbabwe which can play its effective and strategic role towards the achievement of regional integration and collective prosperity.

As my country pursues the UN Agenda 2030 and our National Vision, we continue to endure the renewed socio-political onslaught by neo-colonial forces. This is mounted on the misinterpretations around the bilateral land issue between my country and Britain.

In this regard, Zimbabwe has achieved closure to the land question through various internal constitutional processes. The land is now united with its people and the people united with their land.

Sanctions have no basis and must be unconditionally removed. This will give impetus to my country’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and help us realise development which leaves no one behind. This is even more important given the overriding essence of the “Decade of Action”.

Fellow Zimbabweans and Friends

As a result of my Government’s Engagement and Re-engagement Policy, we are emboldened by the cooperation and solidarity from genuine and well-meaning members of the international community.

Calls by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, for the lifting of the illegal sanctions were most welcome and are indeed appreciated.

I further acknowledge and comment the EU for taking some positive steps towards normalising relations with my country.

We urge the United States of America and the United Kingdom to reciprocate the hand of peace and friendship Zimbabwe has extended. Our hand of friendship remains stretched out to all.

In light of the above, “Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue” and stands ready to welcome investments into our mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure development sectors, among others.

Dear citizens of SADC, Africa and the World,

In concluding, let me once again pay special tribute to all those who have stood by us through our trying times. In particular, I wish to thank all the SADC Member States for championing this noble call for justice.

I profoundly thank our brothers and sisters on the African continent and the rest of the globe, for calling for the unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe, at various fora.

The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, among other nations, have been our dependable pillars for many years. These nations not only assisted us in our fight for independence, but equally assisted us to defend our sovereignty against the sustained onslaught by our detractors. We are sincerely grateful and thank them for their unwavering friendship and solidarity.

To my fellow countrymen and women;

The greatest way to make us deserving of this solidarity from across the region, continent and the world, is to be united and staying on the course of principle.

We are a determined people, a resilient African nation with a proud history of standing for what is right and just.

We are an integral part of SADC and the African Union. Our outlook has always been pan-African, making Zimbabwe home to different nationalities. In return, we have ben hosted by other nations, always exhibiting hard work, honesty and commitment to laws of countries which host us. That character must never change; it must be supported and strengthened by the show of solidarity with which Africa and the progressive world continue to favour us.

We must show resilience, innovativeness and creativity in the face of adversities created by the sanctions, through our collective focus on progress, sharing and accommodating others even as our means and resources remain scarce. Indeed this is what solidarity means.

God Bless Zimbabwe!

God bless SADC!

God bless Africa!

I thank you.

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