Source: Unite, fight illegal sanctions, POLAD urges nation | The Herald November 6, 2019
Takunda Maodza in NYANGA
THE Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) yesterday rallied Zimbabweans across the political divide, colour and creed to stand together and fight illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.
POLAD is an assembly of 17 political parties that participated in last year’s harmonised elections.
The political parties are gathered in Nyanga for a workshop on ZIDERA and sanctions.
They are also undergoing training on international relations, diplomacy and etiquette to enable them advocate for the removal of the two-decade economic embargo on foreign soil.
Addressing a Press conference here, POLAD co-convener and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission chairperson Justice Selo Nare said there was need to come up with a strategy to help the country rid itself of the illegal sanctions.
“The Political Actors Dialogue has convened a meeting to discuss the topical issue of ZIDERA and sanctions, which seems to have plagued the nation. In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the region and Africa, the political actors have resolved to deliberate on their position on the matter and churn out a strategy to help the nation rid itself of this malady called sanctions,” he said.
Justice Nare said citizens must be made aware of what sanctions are and their impact on Zimbabwe.
“Therefore, the political actors have decided that to properly articulate the matter of sanctions, the ordinary citizen should be aware of what sanctions mean and their impact on their lives. The political actors are gathered here to dialogue and proffer solution (s) on how to resolve the matter of sanctions regardless of their political differences. We urge all Zimbabweans to stand together, remain united and fight against sanctions,” he added.
In separate interviews, POLAD members said the issue of sanctions was no longer debatable as the embargo was affecting everyone.
“We have decided that we are joining the advocacy for campaigning against sanctions and the removal of sanctions. Once a person embarks on an advocacy, there is need to be clear about the issues for which you are advocating. So, this workshop seeks to capacitate us as political actors with the issues and facts about these sanctions so that when we do the advocacy campaign, we are clear, we are factual and we are able to change the narrative and have the people affected talking about them,” said People’s Rainbow Coalition leader Ms Lucia Matibenga.
She is also a former MDC bigwig and trade unionist.
“The economy is affected by these sanctions and we need to talk about them being removed so that there is a better life for all Zimbabweans,” said Ms Matibenga.
She dismissed the US embassy’s claim there were no American sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“It is typical. In any issue, when people are advocating, they are those for and those against. The Americans are actually propagating their own narrative, and one will forgive them for that,” said Ms Matibenga.
MDC-T leader Dr Thokozani Khupe said sanctions were strangling the economy and all facets of life.
“The major problem we have had is that there has not been enough advocacy on the issue of sanctions so that people understand the effects and impact of sanctions on individuals and on the country as a whole,” she said.
Dr Khupe said international capital was shunning Zimbabwe as a result of sanctions.
“People do not know that in 2000 or way back, many flights used come to Zimbabwe, but they have all stopped.
“People do not know that we were exporting horticultural produce to many countries but all that stopped. Where do you expect to get income from?
“As we speak right now, we cannot get any credit lines. When you look at 2001 when sanctions were imposed people had jobs, industry was operating, but look at where we are in 2019. Industry is closed, people do not have jobs. Is this what we want as a country? These are the effects of sanctions.
“We are saying as Zimbabweans, it is high time we speak with one voice because this thing is about life and death. It is affecting ordinary Zimbabweans,” she said.
Dr Khupe blasted selfish politicians.
“I think as politicians, it is high time we stand up and say let us put our country first. Zimbabwe must come first before anything else. Let us move away from politics of power and positions and try politics of a better life for every Zimbabwean. The major focus of many political parties is power and positions,” she said.
Independent presidential candidate Mr Brain Muteki said: “We need to be given a chance. Zimbabwe is a nation with potential and very ambitious people. Sanctions must be removed. Sanctions are impacting negatively on the populace of Zimbabwe.
“The country is locked, sanctions are there. We need to be freed from sanctions.”
CODE leader Mr Trust Chikohora said sanctions were real and it was ridiculous for anyone to deny their existence.
“Everybody can see the impact of sanctions. Everyone can feel the impact of sanctions. We have been under the embargo for almost 20 years. We cannot deny things that are self evident. It is now time to make sure that everybody knows the truth and make sure we highlight the impact on ordinary people’s lives,” he said.