Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The decision by Sadc member states to declare a day of solidarity with Zimbabwe in its drive against illegal sanctions is a significant victory in the fight against the embargo that has been in place against the country for close to two decades now.
In its communiqué at the just-ended 39th Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the regional body declared October 25 as solidarity day against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and resolved to conduct various activities in their respective countries on that day to resoundingly call for the immediate removal of the sanctions.
The Sadc secretariat was also tasked to take up the matter with the current African Union chairperson, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who will be expected to raise the issue at the upcoming 74th United Nations General Assembly in September this year.
Political analyst and Journalism and Media Studies lecturer at Harare Polytechnic, Mr Alexander Rusero said it was a positive development for Zimbabwe to have the whole bloc speak with one voice against the sanctions.
“It is in the nature of regional and international organisations to work through recommendation, cooperation and consensus as opposed to coercion and compulsion,” Mr Rusero said.
“It’s a diplomatic victory for Zimbabwe for the whole bloc to sing from the same hymn book as much as the anti-sanctions crusade is concerned. You have to realise that this milestone is happening 18 years after ZIDERA, which could mean that maybe the consensus on sanctions wasn’t there for almost two decades.”
MDC-T vice president Mr Obert Gutu echoed similar sentiments saying it was a welcome development that Sadc was singing in unison.
“Zimbabwe is a member state of the 16-nation Sadc bloc.
“As such, it is a huge and major diplomatic victory for the Government of Zimbabwe to obtain the total and unequivocal support of the entire Sadc bloc in calling for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Sadc has got a combined population of more than 250 million people, which is about a quarter of the entire population of Africa.
“What this basically means is that Sadc as a bloc and Africa as a continent are both in agreement that sanctions against Zimbabwe are unjustified and uncalled for and as such, these sanctions must be immediately removed.
“October 25 is thus going to be a historic day for all progressive and patriotic Africans not only on the African continent, but even for those living in the Diaspora.
“Sadc is speaking with one voice against sanctions that were imposed against Zimbabwe by the Western world, particularly the European Union and the United States of America. Sanctions have caused serious and untold socio-economic suffering to the majority of the people of Zimbabwe and as such, all sovereign nations of Sadc have agreed to escalate the fight against sanctions on Zimbabwe. Anti-sanctions Day on October 25 brings a clear and unequivocal message to the entire universe that maintaining sanctions against Zimbabwe is tantamount to gross human rights abuse and transgression against the innocent and toiling masses of Africa.”
Political analyst Mr Goodwine Mureriwa said the solidarity was a sign of Sadc member States to deal head-on with imperialism.
“Sadc’s unity and solidarity is unique in Africa since it has five out of seven countries (Algeria and Guinea- Bissau being the others) that fought bitter liberation struggles to dislodge colonialism.
“The collective declaration against sanctions is reflective of greater resolve to take action against the imperialist onslaught against Zimbabwe and all,” Mr Mureriwa said.
“The West cannot be seen to call for reforms here when it is them who should reform to align their foreign policies to the fundamental UN principles of non-aggression, non- interference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for national sovereignty, equality and harmonious international relations.
“The rest of Africa and other progressive forces should add pressure to make it a global statement against the bullying of the weak by the powerful. These are acts of State terrorism, violation of human rights and international law and, therefore, a serious threat to World peace, stability and efforts towards development.”
In its communiqué of the Summit, Sadc said the embargo was militating against economic growth for both Zimbabwe and the region.
“Summit noted the adverse impact on the economy of Zimbabwe and the region at large of prolonged economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe, and called for the immediate lifting of sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in the country,” reads part of the communiqué.
“Summit declared 25 October as the date on which Sadc member states can collectively voice their disapproval of the sanctions through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are lifted.”