Saturday, November 14, 2009

(HERALD) MDC-T must speak against sanctions

MDC-T must speak against sanctions

ECONOMIC sanctions are an everyday reality in Zimbabwe; manifest in the collapse of our own currency which culminated in the adoption of a multi-currency regime that is dominated by the United States dollar.

Everywhere one looks, one sees evidence of the ruinous coercive measures that former Cuban president, Fidel Castro — whose country has been under a US economic blockade for close to 50 years — characterised as having the effects of silent atomic bombs.

The effects of the sanctions are everywhere. From the poor state of social services, education and health, to the high unemployment, depressed industry, destruction of pensions and savings, deteriorating infrastructure, you name it.

In fact, the ruin the sanctions have wrought on the populace was graphically illustrated earlier this year when the British government airlifted its pensioners resident here to safety after their savings were wiped out by hyperinflation and pension payments were rendered worthless.

It is important to note that Western agencies confirmed then that they had been cushioning these same white pensioners against hyperinflation for years but they still descended into penury regardless.

If such a privileged group was reduced to virtual paupers, what more of the black pensioners who did not get such safety nets and the numerous families who also saw their savings wiped out?

The effect on livelihoods was evidently disastrous.

This explains why Sadc leaders, at their extraordinary summit in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on March 31, 2007 called for the immediate lifting of the economic sanctions.

A call that was picked up by Comesa, the African Union, Non-Aligned Movement and the generality of Zimbabweans whose lives were adversely affected by the 9-year embargo.

It thus comes as a surprise that at a time all parties in the inclusive Government bound themselves to address outstanding issues attendant to the formation of the inclusive Government, the MDC-T leadership is reported to be divided over calling for the lifting of the sanctions.

Yet the GPA that the MDC-T leadership claims to uphold says in no uncertain terms that the parties agreed to endorse the Sadc resolution on sanctions, which resolution unequivocally calls for the lifting of the economic sanctions.

We are aware that the tail can never wag the dog and it is not within the MDC-T’s power, as a mere instrument of regime change, to lift the sanctions. It, however, is a fact that the West maintains its ruinous economic sanctions under the guise of supporting the MDC-T cause.

And if the MDC-T joins the nation in condemning the sanctions, the West will be compelled to confess the real reason they imposed the ruinous measures.

We thus challenge the MDC-T leadership to walk the talk and show their professed commitment to the GPA by speaking with one voice on sanctions.

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