Yes sanctions must go but…
ZIMBABWE marks its second anti-sanctions commemoration against the United States and her allies; and joining the cause in support of this southern African country is the entire regional bloc.
At this historical juncture, Zimbabwe has not hidden its bitterness over the policy of economic exclusion it currently is subjected to by its former colonial masters, Britain included.
But it has not always been like this between Zimbabwe and former colonisers.
In the early 80s, for instance, the United States and much of the first world would look aside while the now disbanded Fifth Brigade would wreak havoc, literally murdering the Ndebeles in the Midlands and Matebeleland, amid accusations they were aiding and abating insurrection by some Zipra insurgencies in the countryside.
According to a report by the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, tens of thousands of Ndebeles were killed by the Fifth Brigade or Gukurahundi, as the military stormers became known as.
As if the Gukurahundi menace was not enough to appease ‘black blood’, in years to come Zimbabwean elections became openly rigged, violent and condoned.
Still, all this did not seem enough to trigger any wrath of the Western world.
But the “cordiale” among the US and West on the one hand and Zimbabwe on the other took a knock once authorities in Harare at first “tacitly and then openly” allowed the invasions by “landless blacks” of commercial farms owned by white people.
These land invasions were “spontaneous and disorderly”, with known war veteran leaders in the forefront.
The United States and its allies were quick to respond, with the former putting in place the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera).
The US Act was crafted in a such a way as would allow it to restructure most of the bilateral and multilateral systems in which Zimbabwe is a part of.
This kind of arrangement was described by Cynthia McKinney as nothing more than a formal declaration of US complicity in “a programme to maintain white-skin privilege under the hypocritical guise of providing a transition to democracy”.
But with no democratic space to manoeuvre and an ever shrinking economy, Zimbabwean authorities have been left with very few choices; either to reduce democracy or to reduce it further. And as a result if the shrinking democratic space in the face of a growing opposition, the West anchored its sanctions on gross huma rights abuses.
The elections of 2008 told a bigger story.
Caught in between losing the ballot to the “ever shrinking economic conditions” and a restive populace, the leadership went for the latter.
In the same year (2008), the ruling Zanu PF party lost parliamentary elections to the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.
But the presidential election between Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai was too close to call and re-run had to be called.
It was during this period when all hell broke loose, with Zimbabweans across the country being cut “long and short sleeves” among other horrendous tales.
Fast forward to August 31, 2018 when eager Zimbabweans awaited the outcomes of that year’s harmonised elections.
According to a report by a human rights group, six civilians or more were killed by security forces in post election occurrences.
But this is only the umptieth time elections have been deemed as violent, not free and unfair, at least in the view of public opinion.
As Zimbabwe and the region retrospect over whether the country is a victim or not of circumstances, Zimbabwe needs to take a long, hard look at itself before blaming others for its troubles.
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