Thursday, March 11, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai must walk the sanctions talk

By: Sixpence Manyengavana
Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:47 pm

A DECADE ago, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had, in his capacity as leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, advocated the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe as one of the methods he thought would assist him to occupy the highest office in the land.

Unfortunately, instead of catapulting him from being a mere opposition leader to being head of state, the embargo brought untold suffering to the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.

Upon realization that he had used a wrong method as a catalyst for his ascendancy, Mr. Tsvangirai has finally acknowledged that what he has been calling “restrictive measures” all along are actually sanctions.

The Insider is reliably informed that Tsvangirai told the MDC-T National Executive meeting at Harvest House on 5 March 2009 that his call for the lifting of sanctions was just a public rhetoric pronouncement and that the party’s position was that the sanctions must not be removed. He went on to invite those who needed clarification on this issue to his office.

Tsvangirai was forced to convene this meeting after he was taken to task by MDC-T legislators who had queried the party’s position on sanction following reports that Tsvangirai had called for the removal of the embargo.

In the same meeting Tsvangirai challenged MDC-T Harare Province to stage a counter demonstration of Zanu-PF youths that took place on 24 February 2009 that led to him being handed over the youths’ petition by President Mugabe. Tsvangirai says the counter-demonstration would put to test the impartiality of the police whom he accuse of discharging their duties biased towards Zanu-PF.

The British came out openly saying they are guided by Tsvangirai on the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe but Mr. Tsvangirai came out on national television saying that it is not what we say but what we do that is going to determine the removal of sanctions.

He went on to say that those who imposed sanctions have their own benchmarks they are going to use in order to remove the embargo. What does he mean by this?

Speaking on sanctions David Wright Miliband, a British labour politician who has been member of Parliament for South Shields since 2001 and is the current Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs speaking from a position of authority said, “in respect of sanctions, we have made it clear that they can be lifted only in a calibrated way, as progress is made…and, above all, to be guided by what the MDC-T says to us about the conditions under which it is working and leading the country.”

Miliband’s statement needs no interpretation as it clearly indicates that the MDC-T are responsible for the imposition of the embargo that is why the British are waiting for Mr. Tsvangirai to tell them what to do about the sanctions. Sanctions are not going to be removed because Prime Minister Tsvangirai came out on ZTV calling for their removal.

If he is genuine in his calling, he should go to the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union and tell those guys to let Zimbabwe off the sanctions hook then we can start respecting him as our Prime Minister.

The European Union’s (EU) decision to extend sanctions against Zimbabwe was endorsed by a leading human rights organization. The EU first imposed sanctions on 18 February 2002, including travel bans and freezing bank accounts.

The EU has continued to resist calls by bodies like Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to lift sanctions when Zimbabwe’s unity government was formed on 11 February 2009. The body is citing lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008 despite the fact that parties to the GPA are in agreement that greater progress has been made since the formation of the inclusive government. The EU believes sanctions are necessary to keep pressure on President Mugabe.

The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says sanctions against Zimbabwe should not be lifted until concerns about human rights violations and media restrictions are addressed.

The United States President Barak Obama announced he was extending US sanctions on President Mugabe for another year claiming that Zimbabwe’s deep political crisis remained unresolved. Under the administration of George Bush, the United States put sanctions on the government of President Mugabe in 2003. These sanctions ban more than 250 Zimbabwean individuals and companies from doing business with United States.

In a statement Obama said, “The crisis constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic process of institutions has not been resolved. These actions and policies continue to pose an unusual and extra ordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue this national emergency and to maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat.”

Western governments must know by now that we Zimbabweans know that there is nothing “targeted” about sanctions. The embargo was put into place as a direct result of the implementation of the land reform programme, period.

South African President Jacob Zuma, on a state visit to the United Kingdom, has suggested sanctions should be removed to help Zimbabwe move forward. He has assured the Britons that progress is being made in Zimbabwe but the UK has maintained a deaf ear.

Now that the British have come out in the open on who is responsible for the removal of the embargo, the ball is now in the Prime Minister’s court.

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