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Push for removal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe – SADC envoys to Akufo-Addo

SADC diplomats in Ghana appeal to President Akufo-Addo and ECOWAS to support their fight for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe

Members of the diplomatic corps in Ghana from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have appealed to President Akufo-Addo and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to joins forces with them as they fight for the removal of Western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe for the past 20 years.

Zimbabwe’s colonial master, the United Kingdom, together with the United States of America and the European Union, imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 in response to alleged election-rigging and human rights abuses by the government of the then president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

Analysts believe that the Western sanctions on Zimbabwe have led to the country suffering an estimated US$21 billion reduction in GDP over the two-decade period that sanctions on the Southern African nation have been in place.

Addressing a press conference at his residence in Accra today, 3 November 2021, Zimbabwe’s high commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Kufa Chinoza, called for the “urgent removal of all sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe”.

He appeared in the company of the South African high commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Grace Jeanet Mason, and Angola’s ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency João Baptista Domingos Quiosa.

His Excellency Chinoza said an end to sanctions would be for the good of Zimbabwe and its people, as well as the good of the whole Southern African sub-region.

Zimbabwe’s high commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Kufa Chinoza, in the company of the South African high commissioner, Grace Jeanet Mason, speaking at the press conference


Special rapporteur

According to H E Chinoza, a United Nations special rapporteur who visited Zimbabwe recently, at the invitation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, called on the US and other Western governments to lift the sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002.

Addressing journalists in Harare on 28 October 2021, Alena Douhan, the UN special rapporteur, said the sanctions were exacerbating corruption in Zimbabwe because banks, companies and individuals banned from trading abroad simply bribe others to conduct business for them.

“I call on all countries which imposed sanctions, as well as banks and companies of third states, as well as countries where these banks are registered, to behave in accordance with the rule of law, due diligence, principle [and to] lift sanctions, make legislation which corresponds with international law and principles of human rights protection,” Ms Douhan said.

“And the last point is that all the discrepancies which exist between all parties, between states, between the government and some sort of opposition leaders and any other institutions, shall be settled on the basis of structural dialogue,” she said.

SADC support

In brief remarks at the press conference in Accra, South Africa’s high commissioner to Ghana, Grace Mason, and the Angolan ambassador to Ghana, João Baptista Quiosa, argued that it is time for the West to lift all sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Other countries must give the government and people of Zimbabwe a fair chance to compete in the global space and so save the lives of Zimbabweans, who are struggling under the prevailing sanctions, they said.

SADC caucus of heads of mission

The SADC heads of mission in Ghana comprise the Zimbabwean envoy to Ghana, His Excellency Kufa Chinoza (chairman of the association), South Africa’s high commissioner, Her Excellency Grace Mason, and Angola’s ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency João Baptista Quiosa.

The other members are Namibia’s high commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, and the Zambian high commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Richard Mwanza. However, these two envoys were unable to join the press conference.

His Excellency Kufa Chinoza of Zimbabwe together with Ambassador João Baptista Domingos Quiosa of Angola


Heads of state intervene vs hard line in the West

Many African heads of state have called for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe in order to save the nation.

Speaking at the 76th UN General Assembly in New York City in September this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa declared: “We also call for the lifting of the sanctions that are crippling Zimbabwe and crippling its economy.”

Speaking on the same UN General Assembly platform, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana argued that “sanctions against Zimbabwe are a setback to stability in our region (SADC)”. On 26 October, the SADC chairman, President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, added his voice to the call for an unconditional and immediate removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

On the same day, the chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Mahamat Faki, reiterated the call. Speaking on behalf of the continental body, he recommended the immediate and unconditional removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

However, the US, UK and EU insist that Zimbabwe’s economy has suffered not because of the sanctions they imposed, but because of corruption and government mismanagement of the nation’s resources and economy.

Wilberforce Asare

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