Biti says sanctions ‘not serving anyone’

OTTAWA — Canada must re-engage with “the difficult places” in the world, Finance minister Tendai Biti has said.
Biti made the comments after a presentation at Carleton University in Ottawa Tuesday night.

Report by Globe&Mail

Biti, secretary-general of MDC-T, became Finance minister in 2009 after the MDC formations formed a unity government with president Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.

“Canada is such an important country, and has been an important country over the years, that it must be engaged in Africa and in the difficult places over the world,” he said.

Biti was scheduled to meet yesterday with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and his parliamentary secretary, Deepak Obhrai yesterday. The meeting was set to “provide an opportunity to express Canadian views on the need for continued political reform in Zimbabwe, including a referendum on a new constitution, free and fair elections, and the respect for human rights,” said Rick Roth, a spokesman for Baird.

Biti said he would use the meeting with Baird as an opportunity to press the Canadian government to broaden its relationship with Zimbabwe.

Last year, the Canadian International Development Agency said all of its existing projects and contracts in Zimbabwe were expected to end in 2014.

At the time, a spokeswoman told The Globe and Mail that the agency’s commitments to supporting the country’s 2013 elections would still be fulfilled.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for an update on Tuesday on its work in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s next elections and a referendum on a new constitution are expected to take place later this year.

Biti said the coming elections will be an important test for his country, after the violence and disputed results that marred Zimbabwe’s last elections in 2008.

He called on Canada and the international community to lift sanctions on the country and its officials, saying they are “not serving anyone”.“The use of sanctions and isolation, I think they’ve outlived their usefulness,” he said.

Biti, who is a lawyer by training, inherited an extraordinarily difficult portfolio when he became Finance minister in 2009.

Zimbabwe was struggling with hyperinflation so severe that people were often forced to use bags full of bills to make purchases.

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17 Responses to Biti says sanctions ‘not serving anyone’

  1. edgar January 10, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Tendai what do you stand for if I may ask. You cannot have it your way, to ask for sanctions one day and the next, to say lift them. What has changed on the ground to warrant your change of heart. Where are the security sector reforms which constitute a grave danger to any change. Yes compromise is necessary but what has Zanu conceded in this critical area.

  2. Vakeni January 10, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Biti is wrong in saying that no one benefiting from the existence of sanctions. Govt/ministry of mines does not reveal quantities mined, exported and realised and hence the looting which benefits certain pple. Its unfortunate that once sanctions have been imposed it becomes very difficult to have them removed,eg sanctions were imposed around 1866 and are still in place dispite the poor country making good the reasons of imposing them

  3. Mpunity January 10, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    The power of propaganda and perception management really works, even on intelligent people.

    In this case, it illustrates just how “travel restrictions” on a handful of Zanu PF human rights abusers (and companies owned or run by the same) can be converted so easily into “Sanctions” against the nation of Zimbabwe by the perpetrators themselves.

    The reasons for those travel restrictions have not gone away and here we have a senior leader in the MDC-T telling the Canadians to remove them because they are “not serving anyone”. Really?

    I sincerely hope that the Canadians stand resolute with the people of Zimbabwe on this one and if necessary, increase the list of names as new human rights abusers are discovered

    • James Hoyo January 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      When Biti says sanctions he means sanctions, not travel restrictions. Please take it from the horse’s mouth. These sanctions are in effect hurting ordinary Zimbabweans.

  4. Vakeni January 10, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Sanctions were imposed on Haiti around 18ö6

  5. Gutter Poet January 10, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Biti this once does seem to have a point..these sanctions are not serving anyone if anything they like Vakeni says are benefitting looters among us as they are using them to obfuscate the terrain for accountaibility in key sectors in the mining industry. They should go and those that remain must be clearly stated. Global Witness are working day and night to expose all the theft and skullduggery obtaining in Zimbabwe, it is these investigations that the media should highlight so that we know who among us has been stealing the national cake. A blanket sanctions call does not help, lets get into specifics, who is stole what, where, when is more important to Zibwes than these so-called sanctions..Just like what is happening in Uganda lets get the names of these thieves, in a country of 13 million these crooks are known, just give the people leeway to tell and you will be surprised what you will find.

  6. John weku Mabvuku January 10, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Hezvoko! “Kupembedza n’anga inobata mai” Wither to now ?Kana paclinic yokwa Gutu pakashaikwa mishonga ye Arthritis, nambuya vake vanoaffetiwa namasanctions. Like it or not. thats how selective and restrictive they are. What has changed macomrades is that Tendayi has suddenly transmogrified from a student hooligan activist to a politician. These are strange human beings that thrive on lies, even the greek meaning of ‘politia’ means lies! They have specialised the treatise’s practical application to be universally acceptable as genuine patriotic duty to benefit the ‘country.’ under the slogan ‘pro-patria’. So calling for sanctions was a dictated swan-song, now that ava kudya “they are not serving anyone!” Thank yu Mr “Ïssues sorrounding…” Zvokunzi crammer wozoparroter zvinonetsa.

  7. mbonisi January 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Biti is right – these restrictions are serving no purpose at all. As long as they are not United Nations sponsored, they are useless as some countries will always ignore them as has been happening with the countries in the east. Bilateral sanctions serve no other purpose other than as fodder for Gukurahundi anti-west propaganda.

    UN sanctions against Ian Smith worked effectively because they were comprehensive and by an internationally recognised body – the UN.

    How can you say you have restrictions/sanctions in place when the country can still trade internationally; imports fuel as and when they wish; Gukurahundis travel for holidays to the east and nothing happens and their children are in Western Universities?

    These restrictions/sanctions are giving Gukurahundis excuses for their own failures. Everything is now blamed on sanctions even it is clear to everyone that a lot of these failues are due to Gukurahundi corruption and mismanagement!

  8. Sono January 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Sanctions MUST subsist until after a credible election. Sanctions are working. Sanctions work. What else is there as leverage against brutal ZanuPF besides sanctions?

    • mbonisi January 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Sono, how are the sanctions working? Please give us a list of their achievements?

      • Sono January 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

        @mbonisi – ZanuPF is unable to sell Zimbabwe’s diamonds. And some in ZanuPF cannot travel to the certain countries abroad. Zimbabwe government cannot access loans from the West – lines of credit are closed.

  9. Mdc January 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Rakazvirova rikazhamba.

  10. Mavikela January 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Dai asiri masanctions usiri panyanga dzawanadzo

  11. Moyoza January 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Biti. mugabe. tswangirai are nothing other than a heap of cow dung.

  12. Toots January 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Here we have Biti acting like the doctor who prescribed a slow-acting poison for a patient, (prescription to be repeated indefinitely) and also recommends isolation of the patient. The nurse successfully isolates the patient and diligently administers the poison repeatedly for 12 years, but patient only gets worse but does not die.
    Then Dr Biti goes to the nurse to beg her to stop administering the poison saying,

    “Nurse, you are such an important person, and you have been an important health professional over the years. You must remain engaged with this patient and with other difficult patients all over the world, however it is my professional opinion that the use of poisons and isolation ,eeh, uhh, eeeh uuuh, I think they’ve outlived their usefulness.”

    Fellow readers, if you were the patient overhearing this doctor’s words, how would you react?

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