Source: Land reform, DRC prompted sanctions on Zim | The Sunday Mail 27 OCT, 2019
Sunday Mail Reporter
The country is being punished through sanctions simply because it took the bold decision to redistribute land to black Zimbabweans and also took the lead in defending the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 1998 and 2002, a report has observed.
The report – which appeared in a special anti-sanctions edition of a local magazine, The Insider – observed that both the land reform and DRC mission were at cross-purposes with the foreign policy interests of the US and Britain.
It is believed Washington particularly, had vast business interests in the mineral-rich DRC.
“ZDERA was first enacted in 2001, when the US sided with Britain, in the latter’s bilateral dispute with Harare over the fast-track land reform programme, which sought to fulfil the main liberation war objective of land redistribution to the majority of Zimbabweans,” said the magazine in an article headlined “Land Triggered Zim sanctions”.
“Further, the Americans were miffed by Zimbabwe’s intervention in the DRC war, where the US had vested interests.”
Allegations of human rights abuses, it adds, were being conveniently employed to sustain the embargo.
“However, the US disguised its true reasons for unilaterally imposing the illegal sanctions, citing the alleged violent nature of the land redistribution exercise.
“The US successfully sold the false story that all Zimbabwe had to do was to embark on wide ranging property rights and political reforms as a prerequisite for the lifting of the sanctions.”
The magazine added: “A year later in 2002, the EU imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe ostensibly because Government had expelled EU Observer Mission (EUOM) head Pierre Schori and alleged human rights excesses.
“The truth of the matter is that the EU was merely punishing Zimbabwe for the land reform programme in support of Britain.
“Like the US, the EU updated and amended the illegal sanctions regime to tighten the noose on Harare through Council Resolution EC 3014/2014 and the Council decision 2011/101, CFSP.
“To sum up the foregoing, then US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Chester Crocker during hearings for the US sanctions law declared that ‘to separate the people of Zimbabwe from Zanu-PF, we have to make their economy scream and I hope you the Senators, have the stomach for what you have to do,’” the magazine adds.
According to the magazine, soon after his appointment as US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Brian Nichols told President Emmerson Mnangagwa that “the land question remained a key issue that Uncle Sam wanted to be addressed”.
ZDERA, in its amended version of 2019, instructs Zimbabwe to enforce the Sadc Tribunal Ruling on land reform.Part of the amended ZDERA reads: “It is the sense of Congress that the Government of Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) should enforce the Sadc Tribunal Rulings from 2007 to 2010, including 18 disputes involving employment, commercial and human rights cases surrounding dispossessed Zimbabwean commercial farmers and agricultural companies.”