BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO pressure groups have claimed that the Zanu PF-led government deserves to be placed under targeted sanctions due to continuous violation of human rights in the country for the past 40 years.
Their remarks come two days after the country commemorated the Sadc anti-sanctions solidarity day on Monday, with ruling Zanu PF party supporters marching on the streets of Bulawayo.
Pressure group, Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said: “The sanctions imposed on the few selected Zanu PF leaders and State-linked companies should be maintained. They are so selfish and oppressive. When leaders oppress their own people, it becomes a big challenge. It is not the country which is under sanctions; it is actually citizens that are under sanctions because of the ruthless government.”
United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Alena Douhan is on a 10-day visit to the country to assess the impact of sanctions.
But Fuzwayo described her visit as “useless” as it will not change the behaviour of government.
“Actually, the UN envoy must also look at the 1980s Gukurahundi period in order to understand that citizens in this country have been placed under sanctions by the Zanu PF government, which butchered civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during the 1980s,” he said.
Busani Moyo, a human rights activist, said: “These people are getting richer and richer but they still cry over sanctions. Their children learn at international schools, while ours are suffering in this country.”
Nkayi-based rights activist Mandlenkosi Mafu said people in the country were downtrodden, adding that workers were earning slave wages.
Zapu secretary for mobilising and organising Dereck Katsenga said sanctions were imposed on the country because of the violent land reform programme.
“Human rights abuses caused these sanctions, and the fraudulent elections that have been taking place in the country. We need to do things in the right manner to get these sanctions removed,” Katsenga said.
The Zanu PF government has, however, blamed the collapse of the country’s economy on sanctions. But the United States and European Union insist that sanctions were imposed on the country because of lack of rule of law, corruption, and other ills that government needs to correct.