LOOKING out of the window from MDC’s Harvest House on a Tuesday morning in March 2009, I was baffled and lost on what I was hearing from our boss, Morgan Tsvangirai. “(President Robert) Mugabe is indispensable, he is part of the problem, but also part of the solution. We must ask the Western powers to remove the sanctions’’. Most MPs attending the caucus meeting were petrified and quietness enveloped the room. We listened attentively as our boss made a U-turn on sanctions as he bellowed his newly found solution to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.
guest column:Anadi Sululu
My conscience quickly landed on my campaign trails in Silobela where I had told the masses that there were no sanctions in Zimbabwe. Instead there are restrictive measures on targeted individuals that included the Mugabe family and other high-ranking politicians and businessmen linked to Zanu PF. My followers were convinced and even today there is no serious basis for claiming that sanctions has destroyed our economy, it has become even more apparent that bad governance is the author of our woes.
That afternoon, Tsvangirai made the same statement in the august House, calling for the removal of sanctions and asked the US, Britain and other European countries to unconditionally lift the ban.
The Government of National Unity (GNU) had taken the fighting spirit, courage out of the MDC as it had surrendered to Zanu PF’s demands. Truly, I was saddened and vexed because we had betrayed our supporters. As a dedicated politician, my parliamentary values of honesty, accountability, consistency and integrity were tarnished. It appears I had lied about the sanctions against my personal ethics, conscience and morality.
We are still in sanctions confusion 11 years down the line. Sadc and African Union platforms have embraced Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions mantra. Most Zimbabweans have ignored the campaign and rather intensified the call to end corruption.
Our national leaders have failed the nation and confused the populace. Can we be bleating about sanctions for 20 years, yet our country burns and the masses suffer? The GNU never solved the four outstanding issues namely electoral, security, media reforms as well as the sanctions to seal the Global Political Agreement (GPA). In the agreement, MDC was expected to facilitate the removal of sanctions first before the other three can be considered.
I strongly believe that the MDC bargain for the GNU deal was ill-advised and incomplete. Zanu PF acted in bad faith. Also the allocation of ministerial posts was biased and unfair, leading to the MDC loss in 2013. I call upon MDC leaders, Thokozani Khupe, Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube and Nelson Chamisa, to explain why these issues were left outstanding and never finalised during the GNU as stipulated. In 2019, Tsvangirai visited Australia, Europe and the US with a delegation including Walter Mzembi (Zanu PF) and Welshman Ncube (MDC N) to call off sanctions. I guess that is what Zanu PF intends to do again with the unusual Khupe team in Parliament.
Without electoral reforms, elections rigging and protests will continue to thrive. Political persecution will become the order of the day for the opposition. Without security sector reforms, the police and army will act on partisan lines and forfeit professionalism and excellence in the execution of their duties. Without media reforms, only Zanu PF will dominate the air-space and accelerate propaganda. And these do not precipitate free and fair elections ever happening in Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF has totally ignored these very important matters because it cannot reform itself out of power. It is their responsibility — not the opposition to initiate these political reforms to see sanctions lifted. I urge current MPs to smartly raise motions on these outstanding matters and find lasting resolutions and avoid noise-making before elections. Zanu PF must be reminded to fulfil the promises made during the GNU for the country to move forward as one.
I believe the Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has lost the mojo in tackling the tangled issue of sanctions. Rather than fighting directly against Zanu PF, they must signal to call them off as Tsvangirai did in 2009. The opportunity cost of surrendering to sanctions game surely will pay dividends in the long run as we unite for national interest sake. Zanu PF shall have no further excuses for economic mismanagement once this antagonistic issue is wiped off.
Hopewell Chin’ono, Job Sikhala, Jacob Ngarivhume and others are doing well in fighting corruption. We must take action, whistleblow, provide clear evidence and facts without fear of anyone, politicians and senior government officials bathing in corruption oceans and other illegal avenues to the detriment of our economy. The opposition should intensify the call for urgent reforms and Zimbabwe will be liberated from tyranny, and one-man rule.
While the current Sadc chairperson, Mozambique President Fillipe Nyusi leads its member States in calling off the sanctions, there is need too to call for a regional and continental emphasis on eradicating corruption in member States citing Zimbabwe and South Africa as the worst hit by this scrounge. For more than three decades, corruption has been rife in Zimbabwe. Before sanctions were brought in 2000/1, Zimbabweans were already suffering. What African leaders must accept is that it’s their responsibility to look after it’s own first.
We have all the resources to manage our economies efficiently.
As I acknowledge the attempt by the Zanu PF government to stimulate and prosper the economy, it is unwise to have abductions and arrests of the journalists and opposition leaders calling for corruption marches in July 2020 that intensified the call for heavier sanctions. Instead, State apparatus must arrest corrupt individuals and impose stringent sentences on those found guilty. No one is above the law. A Zondo Commission such as in South Africa is overdue in Zimbabwe.
Mr President, sanctions will evaporate the moment you lead by example by declaring your assets an by asking all your subordinates to follow suit. Let the other leaders feel your softness and practise good governance. These targeted financial restrictions do not even hurt the targeted rich politicians and businesspeople. It only affects their personal businesses more than the national interests as their financial transactions are thawed. It’s the masses who are actually suffering because of an inept government.
The Zanu PF-led government must call for more demonstrations to end corruption and human rights abuse than spend scarce resources on denouncing rich states. They should kickstart this tough journey of ending corruption, The US and the European must ask all those individuals targeted by sanctions to declare their assets and henceforth remove them from the terrorist list.
All public servants, leaders must declare their assets. If you want to be President, declare your assets, if you want to be MP declare your assets. It is time to end corruption, it is time to end the suffering of Zimbabwe and effectively it is time to end sanctions.