By Tendai Moyo
July 30, 2012herald.co.zw
While a certain daily paper celebrated the European Union extension of sanctions on Zimbabwe with a story headlined “EU lifts sanctions on Zimbabwe”, what palpably evaded its naïve analysis was that the removal of developmental aid restrictions imposed a decade ago nakedly shows that these sanctions were never solely targeted at a few Zanu-PF officials but were actually indiscriminate from the outset.
This daily paper and a host of other private publications, together with their political allies, have continually maintained that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were merely targeted at some Zanu-PF officials and thus do not have any effect on the generality of the population.
Now that the EU has announced that it is removing sanctions on developmental aid, what do these media publications now say about the sanctions? Would they still maintain that the sanctions are targeted or they will perhaps admit that they are non-discriminative?
Plainly, it is inescapable that the European bloc has latently acknowledged that their sanctions regime involves more than the so-called “travel” embargo.
As presently being witnessed in the country, the blocking of developmental aid did not only hurt the Zanu-PF officials on the sanctions list but heavily affected water distribution, health delivery, education services and other basic provisions that are required daily by ordinary citizens. This makes the punitive measures arbitrary and indiscriminate.
Such a non-selective deployment of sanctions also soundly resonates in other sectors of the economy with the sanctions on Chiadzwa diamonds providing full testimony. Chiadzwa diamonds are not owned by the Zanu-PF officials and neither do they travel yet they are unabatedly under siege from the “targeted travel sanctions” imposed by the self arrogated big brothers from the West.
Because of the sanctions on the diamonds, gems from Chiadzwa cannot be freely marketed as all transactions on them, routed through the pervasive US payment system, would be frozen by the US Department of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC is the US arm that enforces sanctions imposed on countries deemed hostile to its foreign policy. It unsparingly penalises organisations seen trading with sanctioned countries by freezing their funds processed through the omnipresent US payment system.
By stifling operations in Chiadzwa, these sanctions have drastically affected national revenue with Tendai Biti attesting in his recent Mid-Term Fiscal review that revenue inflows from the diamond fields are severely constrained. As a result of the constrained national revenue inflows, civil servants have been denied their annual salary review and the ordinary people will have to brace against an imminent increase in fuel and flour prices. Ultimately, it is the ordinary man and woman who suffer as a result of the so-called targeted sanctions not the “targeted” Zanu-PF officials.
Going back to the EU statement on sanctions review, I found it vexatious that this grouping still feels that it has some political or moral latitude to give some overt pre-conditions for the removal of these unwarranted sanctions. Without showing any shame, the EU released a statement replete with pre-conditions for the suspension of the whole sanctions regime.
Part of the statement read; “The EU agrees that a peaceful credible constitutional referendum would represent an important milestone in the preparation of democratic elections that would justify a suspension of the majority of all EU targeted restrictive measures against individuals and entities.”
Such condescending utterances are infuriating not because we are against a credible constitutional referendum or democratic elections but because the entity uttering them do not possess the moral or political right to spew such words.
These people know no democracy as they have time and again been unremittingly persecuting us, our parents and our forebearers without any shame or remorse. We know no peace as a country because of well calculated shenanigans of these habitual persecutors. Our pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial lives are full of misery because of the Europeans’ unbridled activities to steal our natural resources.
We have never had any respite to chart our own way forward or redistribute our resources in accordance to our sovereign will. At each historic stage, we have had impediments laid before our paths and these pre-conditions for the removal of sanctions are no different.
I do not know why we still give these former colonisers such supervisory roles in our countries. Could the Nazis be allowed to assume such an oversight role on Israelis? How about Iranians or Al Qaeda telling Americans to reform?
By any stretch of imagination, all the above-mentioned scenarios are not only unfathomable but are provocative and deserving the usual high-tech military response.
Similarly, Europeans are our vanquished former colonisers and should not have any oversight role over our nation.
The EU’s unsolicited supervisory roles are a desecration to the sacrifices made by our gallant sons and daughters to liberate country.Tendai Moyo is a researcher and social commentator.