President Mokgweetsi Masisi has launched a scathing attack on the United States of America (USA) calling on the world superpower to lift economic sanctions against neighbouring Zimbabwe.
He was speaking at the just ended 2nd Session of the Bi-National Commission between Botswana and Zimbabwe held in Maun, reiterating Botswana’s unwavering support of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) position on the lifting of all sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe. In August 2020 at Dar es SalaamSADC Heads of States has , Tanzania submit called for the unconditional removal of these sanctions in solidarity with the country of Zimbabwe and its people. asisi will take over the Chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in August 2020 from Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa .
The US imposed sanctions under the Zimbabwe Economic Recovery Act in 2001 during the era of the late Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe. This followed after the chaotic and violent land reform programme of 2000 and a series of violent elections. US Ambassador to Botswana, Craig Cloud has early this year explained that the root cause of the sanctions were human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions by the late former Zimbabwean President.
The administration of US President, Donald Trump has since extended economic sanctions on Zimbabwe by a year. Trump said the sanctions will not be removed until political reforms take place in the country.
But Masisi says the sanctions continue to cripple the economy and political prospects of Zimbabwe and its neighbouring countries. Masisi said Botswana strongly appeals specifically for the repel of Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act and targeted sanctions programmes imposed in Zimbabwe by the USA. “We do so fully conversant of the delighting impact of the sanctions on the economy of Zimbabwe, her citizens and undauntedly the economy of neighbouring countries such as Botswana,” Masisi said.
He lamented that the effects of the sanctions are far reaching noting that not only do they derive Zimbabwe the dignity and pride that comes from a health economy, but they also erodes investors confidence which is essential for the country’s economy to flourish. “And I in my own ways often wonder how can we commit to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while denying the Zimbabwean children and its people a fighting chance to realize the same goals,” the president pointed.
For his part President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe remains burdened by the western imposed illegal sanctions which he says continues to weigh heavily against the country’s developments efforts. Mnangagwa says they have however resolved not to bury their heads in sand but decided to rather accelerate the country’s development in line with its vision 2030 as well as the aspirations of the SDG agenda of 2030 and the African Union agenda of 2063. Mnangagwa added that as a government they also continue to improve Zimbabwe’s micro economic environment through an accelerated implementation of economic, political and legislative reforms.
“With friends such as Botswana and other countries who continue to stand with us during difficult times no challenges against us will remain insurmountable. We therefore remain indebted to Botswana and other SADC countries for this important gesture of solidarity,”Mnangagwa appreciated.
Even though he agrees that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe should be lifted Local Political Analyst, Lesole Machacha has however urged Zimbabwean government and its president to also show commitment that they want for the sanctions against them to be removed. Machacha urged Zimbabwe to introspect themselves on a lot of anomalies such as the nationalization of the country’s minerals which he says somehow contribute for the country to continue being sanctioned. The Political Analyst argues that a lot has still not changed in Zimbabwe even under the leadership of the new president. He highlighted that just like his predecessor, the current president is also linked to some of economic crimes occurring in the country.
Meanwhile Masisi says Botswana as a neighbouring country to Zimbabwe is looking forward to the country’s economic recovery which will consequently lead to a boom for Botswana and the entire SADC region because of the linkages between the countries. Masisi took the opportunity to also applaud Mnangagwa for the comprehensive initiatives that he has put in place to address the social- economic challenges in his country. This he mentioned includes the drive towards political stability by engaging the opposition in a national dialogue.
As part of the commission Masisi has also assured Mnangagwa of Botswana government’s commitment to the cooperation and partnership that has existed between the two countries over the years and that it will continue to exist.