Wednesday 21 October 2020


 Obert Chaurura Gutu

It is beyond debate that for the past decades or so, Zimbabwe has been reeling under the disastrous and debilitating effects of illegal sanctions that were imposed against the country by some powerful Western countries such as the United Kingdom and the US. 

Although on the surface, the reason behind the imposition of these ruinous illegal sanctions was allegedly because of rampant human rights abuses taking place in Zimbabwe, in reality, these Satanic illegal sanctions were motivated as a direct and lethal response to the land reform programme that was accelerated at the beginning of the year 2000. 

Around 4 500 white commercial farmers owned almost 90 percent of the fertile commercial farmland in Zimbabwe before the advent of the historic and revolutionary land reform program.

Of course, no rocket science is needed to know that such an unfair and racially stratified land tenure system was not only unfair and discriminatory, but it was also grossly unsustainable in both the medium and long term. Put bluntly, this skewed and unfair land tenure system was an accident waiting to happen.

I was the national spokesperson of the country’s largest opposition political party, MDC, between 2014 and 2018 and I have got an intricate insider’s knowledge and appreciation of the real reasons why these illegal sanctions were imposed by some powerful Western nations 

Far from punishing the Government for alleged human rights abuses, these killer illegal sanctions were actually imposed in order to make the economy “scream’’. 

The end game was to engineer a socio-economic and political uprising against the Zanu PF-led Government and replace it with a puppet and pliant government that would not only reverse the land reform programme by giving back land to the white former commercial farmers but that would also, both directly and indirectly, take instructions from London and Washington DC in particular. 

This was a grand plan that was oiled by big money. No less than US$10 million was channelled to MDC over the years in order to push this regime change agenda that, inter alia, also took the form of so-called targeted sanctions. 

These illegal sanctions are tantamount to a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). They are anything but targeted. In reality, these demonic sanctions hit the ordinary people more than they hit the ruling elite in Zimbabwe. By closing all normal access to financial packages and loans from conventional sources such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, these illegal sanctions literally made Zimbabwe’s economy scream for almost two decades. 

While other developing countries in Africa and elsewhere receive financial bail outs in the form of budgetary support and funding for infrastructural development, Zimbabwe has been losing out on this front. Consequently, the cost of money in Zimbabwe has become unusually high compared to other Sub-Saharan countries. Because money is expensive in Zimbabwe largely as a result of the direct effects of these illegal economic and financial sanctions, the knock-on effect on the cost of doing business has been nothing short of catastrophic. 

Sanctions against Zimbabwe have successfully managed to paint Zimbabwe as a rogue and pariah State where most major Western private conglomerates and state-owned enterprises have legally been stopped from doing business by evil pieces of legislation such as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA). ZIDERA was passed by the United States Congress in 2001 and ever since, it has been the most lethal tool against the socio-economic resurgence of Zimbabwe. ZIDERA is like a lethal injection that has been administered to the Zimbabwean economy. 

It actually criminalises the doing of business with any Zimbabwean corporate by any American company. Sponsored by a notorious and racist regime change activist, Senator Flake, ZIDERA was partially amended in 2018 but it still remains a dangerous and poisonous tool used to cause continued contraction and collapse of the Zimbabwean economy. Until complete and total regime change is achieved in Zimbabwe, I can bet my bottom dollar that these powerful Western countries will never agree to the immediate and unconditional lifting of all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe. 

The regime change project in Zimbabwe has, much to the chagrin and disappointment of its prime movers and sponsors, spectacularly collapsed. It’s dead in the water. Largely because of personal greed and lack of a sound and progressive Pan-Africanist ideological grounding, MDC is now a pale shadow of its former self. The MDC is now in terminal decline and the numerous squabbling factions that have since emerged are a clear manifestation of the embarrassing failure of the regime change project.

A former labour-backed political party that was originally formed in order to advance the cause of the working class, students and peasants, MDC , wittingly or unwittingly, allowed itself to be hijacked by the super-rich and financially influential local as well as foreign bourgeoisie interests. 

The moment that the MDC got hijacked by white former commercial farmers and their powerful kith and kin based overseas was the moment when an otherwise strong and formidable political party took the kiss of death. 

The party was thereafter packaged as a neo-liberal puppet political movement that was simply being bankrolled by some rich Western nations and their powerful surrogates to effect regime change in Zimbabwe and nothing else. It didn’t help matters when some high-ranking MDC officials actually actively took part in the structuring and drafting of ZIDERA. That was the ultimate manifestation of puppetry and treachery. History shall, indeed, judge these traitors very harshly.

The Government should start to design effective strategies not only to circumvent these illegal sanctions, but also to establish a viable import-substitution strategy. It is commendable that the Second Republic has gone out of its way to adopt and implement a re-engagement policy with these powerful Western countries that have imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe. 

However, more still needs to be done to ensure that the national economy is rebooted with or without these illegal sanctions. Thus, the need to explore and expand South-South co-operation cannot be over-emphasised. 

The cold, hard fact is that these powerful Western countries hate the Zanu PF-led Government. The relentless attack on Zimbabwe particularly in the mainstream global media is worrisome.

With the advent of social media, millions of US dollars have been unleashed to portray Zimbabwe as a country in a serious crisis; as a country in turmoil and also a country that is being run by a government that doesn’t respect the people’s fundamental human rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of association. The media war that is currently being waged against the government of Zimbabwe needs an equally sleek and effective counter-attack strategy. 

Obert Chaurura Gutu is a former MDC spokesperson writing in The Herald



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