Balance competing truths on Western sanctions

This U-turn came as a surprise because he and his cohort in the opposition are credited with calling for their imposition.

Candid Comment By Nevanji Madanhire Recently, no less a person than the leader of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change Nelson Chamisa called for the removal of Western imposed sanctions “yesterday” in a tweet. This U-turn came as a surprise because he and his cohort in the opposition are credited with calling for their imposition.

Billionaire businessman Strive Masiiwa preceded him by more than two years in this call. Now in hushed tones many previously pro-sanctions campaigners can be heard saying, “Don’t be fooled, sanctions are for real,” meaning the call has become universal.

This Damascene moment has come as more and more people become aware of the modus operandi of those who impose sanctions, namely that sanctions are meant to plunge the targeted country into economic chaos. They first hit the country’s currency – look at what has happened to the Zimbabwe dollar! The currency loses its value resulting in prices skyrocketing hitting hard the populace. The hardest hit will obviously be the poor who are denied easy access to food and medicines because the prices of basics will be out of their reach.

Sanctions are therefore meant to hurt the country’s economy and the common people’s ability to survive leading to revolution as people accuse their own governments of failure to rule.

Those who imposed sanctions will continue to say that the measures do not include food and humanitarian aid when in fact they do. The sanctions bar banks around the world from doing business with the targeted country. They hit the importation of food and medicines causing immense suffering and even death among the poor.

As stated above, the ultimate aim of sanctions is to affect the poor and make them revolt.  The suffering of the poor therefore is not an “unintended consequence” of the sanctions, as some allege, but in fact their target.

The anti-sanctions lobby has come against a brick wall. Americans think they are now on the vedge of winning the war against the ruling regime. So, instead of removing the sanctions they will from now on tighten them, as they already have done every year as they renew them, while clandestinely stoking the fires of revolution.

The sanctions have now hit where it hurts most: the health delivery system which has almost totally collapsed. The poor cross borders to seek assistance in neighbouring countries where they face xenophobia. The collapse will be attributed solely to government incompetence and corruption and not to sanctions by those not looking at the situation holistically. They will get support from abroad like they did this week from across the Limpopo.

Limpopo’s Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba’s outburst against a Zimbabwean patient seeking surgery at Bela-Bela Hospital in Limpopo is from an uninformed position because it doesn’t attempt to balance competing truths about the effects of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. Her outrage should have been directed at least partly at the root of the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health system — sanctions.