BY VENERANDA LANGA
FOREIGN Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo on Thursday last week told the Senate that the government’s anti-sanctions march held late this year was successful and its impact was still in progress.
The march held on October 25, was poorly attended even after the ruling Zanu PF party tried to entice its supporters and Zimbabweans to attend by providing chicken and chips packs and soft drinks.
Mashonaland West Senator Joseph Chirongoma (Zanu PF) asked Moyo to explain if countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe heeded the message after the October march.
“I have said in many fora that sanctions are a mass destruction weapon because they are not discrete in terms of who they are going to affect and because of that the United Nations food security rapporteur, who came into this country, highlighted that one of the reasons why Zimbabwe was having certain difficulties is because of sanctions and the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera),” Moyo said.
“Therefore, we believe that this psychological mobilisation of the world to sympathise with the position of Zimbabwe is actually having an impact.”
Moyo said the United States was generally slow in removing sanctions given that the late former South African President Nelson Mandela died while still being labelled a terrorist.
“Of course, there are some who believe the internet and there are some who are seeing the light of reform in terms of the second republic. You will recall that even Mandela died when he was still classified as a terrorist. It is not easy to actually remove sanctions,” he said.
Responding to Midlands Senator Morgen Komichi (MDC Alliance) on whether Zimbabwe was engaging the US to discuss the issues raised in Zidera so that a solution can be found on the sanctions issue, Moyo said: “The major target for our re-engagement has been the United Kingdom and the European Union. What I can assure you now is that we have communication. We speak to each other directly with the US. Even if we differ, but we differ as we discuss. There has been quite a lot of progress, to an extent that there is discussion which is taking place within the US now.”
On the progress made in re-joining the Commonwealth, Moyo said everything is on course.
“So far we have not heard any dissenting voices in as far as our rejoining the Commonwealth is concerned. We believe everything is on course for Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting 2020, in Kigali,” he said.
Moyo said issues raised by the British Parliament that the obstacles to Zimbabwe rejoining the Commonwealth were to do with the human rights situation were their perception.
“What they say is their perception in as far as human rights abuses are concerned. They believe that this government has banned demonstrations for good or something like that. As far as I know, it is not the policy of this government to ban peaceful marches and demonstrations – that is not the case,” Moyo said.