Sanctions: Give diplomacy a chance?


United States President Barack Obama was being pushed in Syria recently, by circumstances, to a war he didn’t want. I suspect he is driven to sanctions on Zimbabwe by similar circumstances, some of which are of Zimbabwe’s own making, such as not inviting independent and fair-minded Western institutions like the US’s Carter Centre and Germany’s Frederick Neumann Foundation to monitor elections.

Painona withwith Tapiwa Nyandoro

Syria came close to being annihilated by cruise missiles after being accused of using chemical weapons against civilians in its civil war. The Russians suspected foul play.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad would have had to be a fool to cross, needlessly, America’s redline. The Russian Foreign Secretary challenged his American counterpart for evidence.

He went further and proposed a solution that has been welcomed by all people of goodwill internationally. The Syrians have not disappointed. They hailed Russian diplomacy and promised to comply with the Russian plan. That is constructive engagement. It produces win-win-win outcomes. The civil war in Syria is not over, but progress has been made.

Zimbabwe has a less acute situation than the one obtaining in Syria. Ours is chronic, involving as it does, Western sanctions slowly strangling the already weak economy. Unless urgent diplomatic steps are taken, Zanu-PF’s victory may thus prove pyrrhic.

“MDC-T’s refusal to concede (defeat) continues to give Westerners the excuse they need to maintain their illegal sanctions regimes, the same way the party’s claims of human rights abuses and closure of democratic space provided cover for the impositions of sanctions”, thundered a pained recent editorial in the country’s leading daily. Well, the time has come to call the MDC-T’s bluff. The President probably partly delayed naming his Cabinet because of the issue of sanctions. His personalised attack on the leader of the MDC-T after the elections gave away His Excellency’s exasperation with the MDC-T’s failure to concede. The nation needs to march forward and it cannot do so while shackled by sanctions.

“We just have to live with sanctions”, some say. Why should we, when we have committed no wrong?

Writing in the same weekly that carried the above-mentioned editorial extract Mai Jukwa wrote: “Zimbabwe’s dire economic situation is in need of radical policies, policies that work as part of a wider strategy to ignite rapid economic growth over the next five years”.

Mai Jukwa’s bold strategy involves harnessing China and the Far East’s momentum the way Dubai has done by scrapping tariffs and growing a regional shopping centre and cosmopolitan society.

But even the bold strategy can be constrained by sanctions, as the incoming Foreign Affairs deputy minister Chris Mutsvagwa’s interview in NewsDay eruditely revealed recently. The Chinese have to be mindful of America’s concerns, their biggest benefactor and trading partner.

Part of Zimbabweans’ expectations post the elections was the removal of sanctions by the Western powers. China, if it were to emulate Russia’s example in Syria’s argument with the US could help end the sanctions. Zanu-PF claims the elections were free, fair and credible. Of course we know that is not exactly true. It had a stranglehold on the State-owned Press and ZBC.

The later probably played a critical role in Zanu-PF’s victory. Its impartiality should be guaranteed going forward.

There are other more damaging allegations of subtle, but relentless voter coercion in the rural areas. They may well be false as the voting pattern did not change much from 2008 or from what Western pollsters predicted quite recently. The MDC-T may just have imploded on its own lack of merit or the limited charisma of its leader when compared to the demagogic Robert Mugabe.

Following Russia’s footsteps in the Syrian story, the stage is set for China, Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend, or for that matter its BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping, Sadc and, or the African Union, to propose the following to the United Nations Security Council.

The 2013 elections be allowed to stand provided:
lA full comparative forensic audit on the Zimbabwe elections, covering a year’s period from the inauguration of the President going backwards, involving at least two other Southern African countries’ most recent elections, is carried out.

  • Sanctions are lifted in toto upon Zimbabwe signing on to the audits
  • The findings of the audit would be used to strengthen Sadc election guidelines going forward
  • Should rigging, or substantial voter coercion as alleged be established beyond reasonable doubt when compared to the other two African countries, then the UN would be mandated by the Security Council to finance, manage and run Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections, with Zanu PF politburo members being barred from participating in the 2018 UN-supervised elections.
  • Should, on the other hand, the MDC-T’s allegations, outside the Sadc and AU election supervision reports not be proven, then those in its party’s national executive council should be barred from the 2018, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission run elections.

Zimbabwe’s own Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) supported by the Carter Centre in the US, and other technical and financial partners from the UN, Japan and Germany could be trusted with conducting the three audits.

Although I think otherwise, Zimbabwe need not be held to higher standards, than say, Angola, Rwanda or Uganda, where the West is doing roaring business in rather suspicious circumstances. China too, must join the US in raising the bar on public governance the world over, not least in its own country. Its economic influence in the world now demands a more visible constructive presence on the world arena.


  1. Sanctions- which sanctions-.
    Plz dont equate unproductivity and laziness to sanctions.
    If 2 idiots are banned from shopping at Harrods in Europe, then you cry and ranson the whole nation suffer about it.
    Sanctions cry still remain a Zpf scrapgoat for looting and under performance.

  2. The nation is going to progress the day we realise sanctions are imaginary or hallucinations or political gimmick.
    What is really that we are producing that is not selling to the west?

  3. I agree. Stop this sancry noise and start producing.

    Failure to get Western monetary support does not equate to sanctions.
    In the 90s Zim went far fetched to introduce Esap and Zimprest merely because the WB, IMF and other Western institute refused to fund our local developmental projects.
    Where these sanctions?

  4. Tsvangirai like the rest of Zimbabwe will never agree to a stolen election.
    2 wrongs cant make a right.

    You won ana electioin in your eyes Zpf and not in Zimbabwe.

  5. I think it ,s about time Zanu pf woke up and faced reality , corruption is our own sanction . How do we explain the Masimirembwa deal ? The dude is still in office after 6 million a ligation . What makes me wonder is how did Rhodesia prosper under sanctions ? Yet we have more minerals than back then , they heard SouthAfrica to trade with . We have China a super power to trade with . We still cry sanctions !!!!

  6. another feeble attempt at a membe of a production this whose plot can be traceable to donor fatigue by that individual wrongfully spelt as cia quite hilariously ? isnt it… then label it.

  7. wen potraying such sensative isues u don need to b biased ok,if things r not well they r not well nomatter how much u try to cover up,now we hv one govenment n wat we nid as ordinary pple is service,how they r going to bring it up we don mind,coruption s the order of day ryt,we don lyk it coz its widening the gape btwn the poor n the rich,we r just nid service,the responcibillity of evry govt is to look after its pple n thats wat we want

  8. wat s nided ryt now s strategy n good polcy implimentation,were s that anti-coruption team while zesa is robing pple,r they not aware of that,n we u continue to say sanctions,2008 backwards,there serious food shotages not becoz nothing was being produced here bt pple were expoting food staffs to neibhouring countries n the blame was on sanctions,ryt now we donn hve piped water n u still wanto say its coz of sanctions,u better kip quiet my friend

  9. The problem is neither party will agree to a proposal which may expose one of them as being wrong.That is the political truth whilst the rest of Zimbabwe must struggle on with one side having a convenient circumstance of “sanctions ” to blame for mediocrity and non performance and the other party bleating continuously about being “cheated”. Where are the diplomats ? ?

  10. tsvancry has to call for the lifting of his sunctions or else the west is going to do so on its own & this will impact negativly on him causing mdct to become more & more unpopular. after all he does not have us gays @ heart.

  11. If you fools say they are no sanctions what is the EU talking about when they say sanctions have(will) be lifted on ZMDC?Tired of fools who crammed their way to degrees.Just shut up please.I know one shouldn`t castigate someone for his/her view but the stupidity is infuriating.Whether one likes Zanu or not sanctions exist and only idiots can not see that.The people who imposed them acknowledge their existence by saying they will remove them when certain conditions have been met yet cretins still insist they are no sanctions.And some fool thinks money from the world bank or IMF is from Western countries only…..that is money which is paid into those institutions by member countries for the VERY PURPOSE OF LENDING IT TO COUNTRIES IN NEED.They are like banks for the world.Don`t be blinded by hatred.Learn to think and analyse things objectively not subjectively.For your own info USA owes the biggest amount of money to those institutions(of course they are also the biggest contributors).This simply shows no country(let alone little Zimbabwe) on earth can claim to never needing financial aid in the form of balance of payment from these institutions.Direct payments to Zimbabwe for simple trade are blocked by your American and European friends.Those are the sanctions we are crying about, not about going to USA or Europe(because they do go anyway and besides whats in London or New York that you do not find in Dubai,Singapore,HongKong,Japan,etc.Don`t be stupid man.).We are not even crying for their money but money that is banked into those institutions by the whole world.And it is borrowing not a gift.nxaaaaa.

  12. Hi Tapiwa Nyandoro.The only problem with your line of argument is that you actually believe the Westerners are genuinely concerned by the welfare of the Syrian or the Zimbabwean people.They are not.The only problem with the Zim elections is that the wrong person and the wrong party won.Nothing we can do or say can ever change the fact they want Mugabe out at all costs.I don`t know y u can`t see that.

  13. @E.mziti
    You are too brainwashed by idiotic apologetic Zpf propaganda to even think for yourself.

    So where do you need America and Britain here?

    Sanctions cry is just a political apology to defend looters like Misimirembwa and Mpofu..

  14. Iwe benzi iwe Mziti.

    EU decided to buy Zmdc diamonds after realising that the same Zim diamonds were finding their way on the market via Mbada Diamonds and Anjim.
    Remember Europe are allowed to buy Mbada Diamonds.

    Dont display your stupidity.
    What people are saying is that the sancry song by Zpf has no effect at on Zim gloabal trading ability.

    If you know in any way how so called ‘sanctions’ are affecting Zim trade, plzz educate the nation.

    Propaganda does not equate to truth.

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