Saturday, 26 October 2019

THOUSANDS MARCH AGAINST SANCTIONS


THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans from all walks of life yesterday participated in the historic anti-sanctions marches that took place in all the country’s 10 provinces.

In Bulawayo, residents marched from the robot-controlled intersection in Pelandaba, robot-controlled intersection near Mpopoma High School and robot-controlled intersection near Western Commonage Police Station to White City Stadium as part of the campaign against the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States, UK and their allies.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube, who was accompanied by Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Raji Modi and Zanu-PF Central Committee member and Senator Molly Mpofu, led the march to the venue of the anti-sanctions campaign. She read the President’s speech.

Scores of people, including Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube, the chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Justice Sello Nare, service chiefs, war veterans, senior Government officials, students, churches and businesspeople joined the nation in campaigning against the sanctions when they converged at White City Stadium.

Speakers drawn from churches, organisations representing students, residents, war veterans and the business sector delivered solidarity messages.

The chairman of the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) Mr Winos Dube said the sanctions were a result of a misconception by the United States that there were human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

He said the US was opposed to a series of initiatives by the Government to empower indigenous people such as the land reform programme. 

“The US perceived such initiatives by the Government as human rights abuses and as a result enacted what became known as Zidera,” he said in reference to the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, the US sanctions law.

Mr Dube said despite commendable efforts by President Mnangagwa to make socio-economic reforms and his Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra, the US and its allies continue to turn a blind eye.

He said the sanctions were hurting ordinary Zimbabweans and urged residents to take a stand against them by participating wholeheartedly in anti-sanctions campaigns.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Matabeleland Chapter president, Mr Golden Muoni urged Zimbabweans to rise up and speak with one voice, saying the country has lost billions in potential revenue due to the embargo.

He said industry is failing to grow because Zimbabwe is no longer getting direct foreign investment.

Bulawayo provincial war veterans’ chairperson Cde Cephas Ncube likened sanctions to witchcraft, saying they were affecting ordinary citizens, women and children. 

“The sanctions were actually requested by the opposition and now they are also feeling the pinch. Bulawayo was the country’s industrial hub but due to sanctions we now have unemployment because firms have either closed or scaled down operations. As veterans of the liberation struggle, we are saying sanctions must go because that is not what we fought for. We fought for peace and economic prosperity,” he said.

The president of the Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, Reverend Tsungai Vushe urged churches to join the nation in calling for the removal of sanctions.

He said the role of the church is to pray for unity, peace and love.

Child president Mukudzeishe Madzivire said the sanctions were destroying  innocent children’s lives.

The event was marked by scintillating performances from Bambanani Women’s Dance Group and Snippers which captivated the audience through their well – choreographed dances while Amakhosikazi Entuthuko and the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) brass band captured the mood of the occasion through their soothing music.

In the Midlands province, scores of people participated in the anti-sanctions march.

People from all eight districts in the province gathered at Gweru Sports Club before marching into the Central Business District. 

Midlands Provincial Minister of State Larry Mavima led the march in the company of Zanu-PF provincial chairperson Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube. Residents waved placards inscribed with messages such as “Sanctions a weapon of mass destruction” and “Sanctions are destroying our future as youth”.

There was entertainment and solidarity messages from Midlands State University band, Man Soul Jah, gospel artist Mai Patai, students, pupils, chiefs and poets.

Minister Mavima then read President Mnangagwa’s speech marking the end of the march.

Eng Mackenzie Ncube said because of the fact that the country is socio-economically hamstrung by the sanctions, the fight against embargo should be an everyday event.

In Masvingo, there was a capacity crowd.

Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira, provincial war veterans’ leader Cde Tendeukai Chinooneka, Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo, members of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) and senior Zanu-PF members, among others, joined the anti-sanctions march. 

In an interview on the sidelines of proceedings, Cde Chinooneka said the inaugural Sadc-initiated march against illegal sanctions had sent a clear message to the United States to unconditionally remove the sanctions.

“As war veterans we are unequivocally calling for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions now. We are at the receiving end economically due to sanctions such that basic commodities, transport and even education are now beyond the reach of an average person,” said Cde Chinooneka.

Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union (ZICOSU) provincial president Blessing Mlemu said students at tertiary institutions were failing to complete their education due to the illegal sanctions.

“We have some of the students who have dropped out of school because they could not pay fees. This is because of the illegal sanctions that have rendered our parents’ incomes valueless. We categorically call for their removal as a matter of urgency,” said Mlemu.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Wellington Mahwende said sanctions were causing untold suffering to Masvingo residents.

The event was punctuated by splendid displays by drum majorettes complemented by traditional dances by inmates as Mutimurefu Prison.

In Matabeleland North, people started arriving in Lupane as early as 8AM with buses trickling in from all the seven districts.

The procession, which was led by youths who sang and danced while denouncing the illegal sanctions started at 10.30AM and went around suburbs to the venue, Somhlolo Stadium.

The crowd had already swelled when official proceedings started at midday.

Various stakeholders gave solidarity messages.

Representing war veterans, Cde Davison Ndlovu said the sanctions were not targeted as they were affecting all citizens. He said this is against what he and other freedom fighters fought for.

A women’s representative, Mrs Donny Sibanda, said women bear the brunt of the illegal sanctions as they are the ones who have the burden of taking care of families.

“Hospitals are not functioning and unless sanctions are removed, women will always remain disempowered,” she said.

A representative of farmers in the province, Mr Daniel Sithole, said removal of sanctions will capacitate the agricultural sector.

Chief Mabhikwa said the entire province stands in solidarity with President Mnangagwa in advocating for the removal of the illegal embargo. Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo read the President’s speech.

Residents were treated to entertainment including soccer matches.

In Matabeleland South, the march against sanctions took place in the provincial capital, Gwanda. Scores of people, among them local MPs, heads of Government departments, police, politicians and pupils marched from Zuva Service Station in the central business district to Phelandaba Stadium where the main function was held.

The crowd marched through the mining town while holding banners and placards containing messages denouncing sanctions.

People were kept entertained by army band, drum majorettes, Gwanda Prison inmates and local artistes. Pupils from local schools recited poems denouncing sanctions. Matabeleland South provincial development coordinator, Ms Sithandiwe Ncube read the President’s speech on behalf the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Cde Abednico Ncube. Chronicle

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