Excerpts from Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa’s interview with ZBC
There is never a justifiable reason for these sanctions. These sanctions are illegal. Under international law, it is only the United Nations system who are entrusted with the power to impose sanctions and this is only done on countries deemed to be of a security nature to the international peace and justice and Zimbabwe is a very peaceful country. There was never a resolution and there is still no resolution to put sanctions on Zimbabwe, so these sanctions are illegal.
I think the people of Zimbabwe have seen it for themselves and not just them but the progressive nations have also seen it. These are just reasons that are being given by the hegemonic nations who feel that sanctions are a weapon to calm down the weakest nations in this world.
I feel that this is the time for Zimbabweans to come together, to get united to fight these sanctions. We are actually happy that everyone can understand now that it is out of greed. There is nothing that can justify these sanctions. They started off when they were miffed by the fact that we had taken our land. They were miffed by the fact that Zimbabwe fought a war of liberation and actually won that war.
We are very much aware that the US and former imperialists are coveters of our rich and diverse mineral base and this is precisely what they have been fighting for and for a small country like Zimbabwe really, we know Zimbabwe features at the top list of all the key minerals like diamonds, gold, chrome, lithium, even fossils. These economic sanctions are one of the latest means which the powerful countries are using to perpetuate imperialism in Africa.
We are saying that Zimbabwe is a threat of a good example. No country can ever be afraid of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a small country by any chance and nobody can say that it is a threat to the international peace and justice. So one can actually see that this is being done to cow down Zimbabwe so that the whole of Africa feels that you do not play around with the powerful with the imperialist. But we are saying Zimbabwe will not be stopped from making use of what is hers. God gave us these minerals and they are meant for Zimbabwe and should benefit its people.
They have been talking about these issues, human rights issues and the rule of law and these have been dealt with. Our President, Cde ED Mnangagwa, is a reformist and he has actually taken it upon himself that he creates a democratic space so that at least everybody can come on board and discuss issues which need to be discussed if there are any.
So we are saying to the powerful nations that they should “please allow the weaker nations to grow their economies”. This we know is out of greed. The want to put governments that are weaker. These illegal sanctions are really meant for regime change other than anything else so that they can put weaker governments where they can lay their hands on our natural resources base and this has become very clear.
The propaganda which has been ongoing for a long time to say that these sanctions are because of human rights, that has become very clear, everyone has seen it. This is why a lot of progressive countries have come on board to scream with Zimbabwe against these sanctions.
These sanctions are a reality and they are patently vindictive. There are there with cruel punitive measures for the sole purpose of making the people of this country say they do not want Zanu-PF party, as a revolutionary party. This is all done as I have said so that they can have their pliant political regime which can allow them to come and lay their hands on our natural resources.
These sanctions have imposed so many difficulties on our people. The economy has been going in the last 20 years and also just to make the people of Zimbabwe understand, the fact that US reviews ZIDERA annually, it just shows that it serves a purpose, otherwise it would have gone by its own. They started in 2002 and up to date they renew ZIDERA annually and that shows they are aware of the impact they have on the economy.
We are saying that if they are not impacting on our economy then they should simply fall away out of disuse but they are continuously reviewing ZIDERA. Contrary to the propaganda that these sanctions are targeted, we are very much aware that that is not true. Zimbabwe has been ostracised for the almost two decades and what it means is we have been denied funding from the international financial institutions.
There is no country that can develop without the loans from international institutions and we know for sure ZIDERA itself specifically forbids IMF, World Bank and other Bretton Woods institutions to give funding to Zimbabwe and we are talking of infrastructure which needs to enable this country to grow and there has been no funding.
We are talking of water, roads, railways and also electricity which we are battling with today and the energy issues. All these are issues we have suffered in the last t20 years because there has been no meaningful investment in our industry. If you move around in our industry you will see that virtually nothing is happening. If there is anything there has been disinvestment and this means that is our stock of manufacturing capital is totally outdated and what this means is that Zimbabwe companies cannot produce goods and services which are competitive. We need to be productive, we need to produce competitive goods and services to the global world.
The question that a lot of people have been asking is that why is that there is so much democratic space that has been created in this country, so much political and economic reforms done by the Second Republic and still the sanctions have not been removed and that is why progressive countries have decided to come on board to shout out and say remove these illegal sanction on Zimbabwe and we are grateful for that.
Government through the President is actually going further to appoint commissions where he thinks there shall be shortcomings even commissions with international flavour to make sure that we are actually open to the whole world as his mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business”. A lot is being done even in terms of elections, we have adopted the SADC elections standard and the last election of 2018 was very good.
It was successfully tested all the way to the Constitutional Court and it showed that it was very transparent and accountable and with all that it has become so clear that these sanctions have a regime change agenda, so SADC are leading the charge against Western illegal sanctions and we are very happy. This has never happened before and the Dar es Salaam Summit of Heads of States came with a resolution and designated the 25th of October to be the date when the whole region will shout for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe, they are causing so much pain to not only Zimbabwe but to the entire region because when you pull back one country it means you are pulling back the entire region.
SADC is a strong regional bloc which needs to move together to make sure that they actually change the standards of living their citizens and they cannot move as a bloc if Zimbabwe is kept under these illegal sanctions. This is what we are going to be doing together with SADC to make sure that the whole world knows that this propaganda that these are targeted sanctions is not true.
The 25th of October is an important day in our calendar. We are very grateful that the Heads of State in the Dar es Salaam Summit designated this day where all the 16 countries will actually be working on activities that will show case that enough of these sanctions and also to really make the citizens in the region understand the impact of these sanctions.
As a Ministry and together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade we have been working hard and we have been having quite a number of meetings. The same venue which the resolution was taken in Dar es Salaam just recently at the United Nations General Assembly we saw that the SADC Heads of States took the floor up to talk about illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe and we are very grateful. So we are working on many other issues that we are doing like the initiation of television and radio programmes, having jingles on TV. Those are some of the things we will be doing to highlight the impact of sanctions.
For example, I was reading recently and saw ANC of South Africa has actually called on its structures to come up with programmes and activities to send unequivocal messages to say remove sanctions on Zimbabwe and this is something that is good for us as Zimbabweans.
We will also have documentaries produced, musical competitions meant to just inspire Zimbabweans so that they can understand that it is no longer about propaganda but reality.
Sanctions are impacting very badly on our people. We need to have debates around schools, poems and production of even infomercials and also petitions to some of these embassies who are imposing sanctions on us. These publications will be done on both traditional and social media so that we send a strong message that these illegal sanctions are impacting badly on the people of Zimbabwe, stop strangling Zimbabwe because you do not want a Zimbabwe that thrives, that becomes modern because you fear that it will be seen as a threat of a good example.
We are quite happy with the progressive people in the United States who demonstrated recently at the United Nations in solidarity with Zimbabwe and this is a welcomed development and we would like that to happen all over because we need medication in hospitals, we need our hospitals to be resuscitated, we need water, recently in Harare we did not have water and we still do not have water.
Our surviving industries are going with six to eight hours of electricity and this has to go and we can only change all these things when there is funding which is given to Zimbabwe to make sure that we enable our economy fully. So this is something which we need to seriously work on and together, united as Zimbabweans we are the ones who are taking the biggest brand of these illegal sanctions so when to be one voice, we need to be united.
It is very disconcerting to find out that there is discordant among ourselves, people who are listening to our detractors and feel that maybe this issue is just a talk show, this is not a talk show. It is not a talk show, this is reality. Let us work with everybody, progressive nations are coming on board to work with us, we need to show these powerful nations that please “leave African countries to thrive”.
They can achieve it. We are educated, we have an educated populace and we have got the natural resources to make us a modern country.
Like I said, it is us Zimbabwean people, who are actually taking the brand of these illegal sanctions and we need to come up with all jingles, poems, debates let us talk about it. It is our Zimbabwe. This country belongs to all of us. The President has been on record to say “this is the Zimbabwe for you and me”. Let us not leave it to anybody and say I don’t know it is them and us. Let us remove the them and us. We need to come together and speak in one language and work towards removing these illegal sanctions.
Besides, the Government has worked very hard in the Second Republic has to just make sure that we do not sit back but make sure to re-engage with those who want to engage with us and also engagement efforts are beginning to show and we are grateful to our President E.D. Mngangagwa for the efforts he has been putting from the time he came into power so we want to make sure we work together as Zimbabweans.
It is clear that the United States and its allies are using the sanctions weapon to actually strangle weaker countries and I think that actually underscores the need to look into the UN system once again to see what needs to be done make sure that there is some kind of renewal.
The Second Republic has put in a lot of effort in the political and economic reforms. By now every Zimbabwean can see what President Mnangagwa as soon as he came into power he declared this country that we need every Zimbabwean on board. This is our country, we do not need them and us. We need to remove polarisation and he has gone further to say that Zimbabwe is open for business. That actually brings in the Foreign Direct Investment which we need to make sure that we put back industrialisation and manufacturing back on track and that is what Government has done. The President has moved away from past angry recriminations to re-engagement and engagement efforts. We have seen that notwithstanding the hostility of the West because they continue to be hostile but our President has continued with engaging and re-engagement efforts.
We have also pursued pro-business policies and strategies which reward foreign direct investors and this is something that we have been working on since day one and we continue to perfect it to make sure that investors will actually walk in Zimbabwe and walk out, and all the issues of monetary reforms is to make sure that investors who have come into this country are going to walk in and walk out with their investment.
So there has been a lot work we have done to make sure Zimbabwe is open for business once again and this is what has made every progressive nation in the world to say “If this is what Zimbabwe has been doing and nothing has been done to remove the sanctions then this is purely propaganda”. So we are moving and we will continue moving our people need a Government which looks at their problems. We understand the pain that is there and the reforms which need to be taken to make sure that we put the economy back on track and the President is on record that the pain is like birth pains. Things will eventually work out.