Zimbabweans were yesterday divided along partisan lines on sanctions with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga saying the country has lost over US$150 billion in 20 years.
Zimbabwe successfully lobbied the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union to declare October 25 as Zimbabwe’s Anti-Sanction Day.
The day is in response to the United States and European countries that imposed “restrictive measures” on the country following the 2000 land reform exercise and human rights’ violations.
Yesterday, government mobilised civil servants and youths to march in Harare against sanctions while the opposition party ignored the day and used the digital spaces to highlight the impacts of corruption by the ruling elites.
The protesters led by permanent secretaries marched in the CBD from Munhumutapa building along Samora Machel Avenue to Africa Unity Square.
Addressing the crowd gathered at Africa Unity Square, Chiwenga said Zimbabwe has lost billions of United States dollars since the imposition of sanctions.
“This has forced our Gross Domestic Product to contract drastically in the two decades that followed the imposition of sanctions. The illegal sanctions are also a direct attack on Zimbabwe's currency which is our sovereign currency of choice; hence our motherland remains subdued by the United States dollar,” he said.
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Chiwenga said the United States sanctions under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act were allegedly meant to “induce a change of government in Zimbabwe and are in essence creating an unfair electoral playing field by supporting, favouring and capacitating regime change agents against the will of Zimbabweans”.
Zimbabwe Coalition for Peace and Development leader Trust Chikohora implored Zimbabweans to unite in fighting against sanctions while also shunning corruption.
However, the CCC preferred to refer to October 25 as the Anti-Corruption Day to counter the Anti-Sanctions mantra.
“Corruption in Zimbabwe began in the 1980s, just a few years after the country gained its independence,” the CCC said in a statement.
“The impact of such corruption on the economy is huge. Firstly, when political elites engage in corrupt activities, it undermines public trust in the government and its ability to effectively manage the economy. This lack of trust leads to reduced investor confidence, hindering economic growth and discouraging foreign investment.”
Addressing journalists during the anti-sanctions commemorations by the Zimbabwe Against Sanctions Trust’s Salon Siam, deputy ambassador of the State of Palestine, said the economic embargo must be lifted unconditionally.
“We stand in solidarity with our Zimbabwean people against the sanctions as they are standing with us against the Israeli genocide which has seen Palestinian people being killed, hospitals and buildings destroyed and our people being denied access to food,” said Siam.
Cuba chargé d’affaires Yoisy Ford Garcia said they stood in solidarity with Zimbabwe in the fight against sanctions and will not back down from demanding justice for Zimbabwe.