via Coltart calls for lifting of ‘scapegoat’ sanctions | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Former Education Minister David Coltart has called for the lifting of the targeted sanctions still in place against key members of the Robert Mugabe regime, saying the measures have provided ZANU PF with a scapegoat for its failures for too many years.
The ZANU PF rhetoric about the targeted, restrictive measures has been relentless in recent weeks, with the Western imposed restrictions being blamed for everything from hyperinflation to, most recently, the poaching crisis in the Hwange National Park.
Indications from the Western nations, including the US and the European Union (EU) are that the measures will not be lifted until real democratic reforms are achieved in Zimbabwe. The US, the EU, Britain and Australia have also all raised concerns about reports of vote rigging during the July poll, and have refused to follow in Africa’s footsteps in endorsing the contested election results.
According to Coltart, who is also the Secretary for Legal Affairs for the Welshman Ncube led MDC, the presence of the targeted sanctions will further hinder any hope of democratic progress.
“With ZANU PF having engineered fraudulent election results in its favour and in doing so made all these promises of job creation and so forth, ZANU PF realises they now have to deliver and they know it will be difficult because most of the promises were false,” Coltart told SW Radio Africa.
He added: “So they need scapegoats and excuses. And sanctions present them with a very good excuse.”
Coltart explained that it would be better for Zimbabwe in the long term if the measures were lifted, “so that ZANU OF can no longer use the propaganda line that sanctions are to blame.”
He however acknowledge that it is “problematic in the short term”
“If they (the West) lifted all the sanctions now, ZANU PF will trumpet that as proof that they agree that the elections complied with democratic laws and our constitution, which they didn’t So clearly it would be a propaganda victory for ZANU PF in the short term,” Coltart said.
But he continued: “In the run up to the next election, it is critical that ZANU PF not be given the slightest excuse not to deliver on their promises.”
“They destroyed the economy long before sanctions were imposed and unless they undergo a miraculous transformation, the chances are they will continue to mismanage our economy. We simply cannot allow them to have this excuse of sanctions in the run up to the next elections. They must be exposed for who they are, as people who have a history of being corrupt and a history of misgoverning the country, so that the electorate can then know very clearly that if they want to take the country forward, they will need to vote for someone else,” Coltart said.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri disagreed with Coltart’s assessment, saying that nothing has changed to justify the lifting of the targeted measures.
“Now is not the time to do it. It would be giving into ZANU PF propaganda and blackmail. Those measures must remain until the reasons for their imposition have been addressed,” Mashiri said.