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New Age Voices - Issue 14
Youth Agenda Trust
March 29, 2011
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civil society scoffs at anti-sanctions propaganda
Youth leaders, civil
society and political activists in Zimbabwe have scoffed at the
anti-sanctions crusade that is being propped up by ZANU PF which
climaxed with a petition campaign launch and outreach that is chaired
by ZANU PF second secretary, John Nkomo.
The New Age Voices visited
several high-density suburbs on the day of the launch and saw that
shop owners and roadside traders had been forced to close shops
and attend the launch.
Some residents who spoke
to The New Age Voices said that many people in their areas failed
to report to work while others got into town late for fear of being
hauled into trucks and buses that were ferrying people to the event.
At the launch, ZANU PF
leader President Robert Mugabe unleashed a tirade against his arch
rival Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai accusing him of inviting
sanction at the Harare show grounds which was attended by ZANU PF
supporters, sympathizers and thousands who were force marched to
the venue by marauding youths.
However, Youth organizations
have poured scorn at the anti-sanctions rhetoric that the party
has been feeing into the state media saying that it is sheer deception
that is meant to mislead the nation ahead of general elections expected
later this year.
Youth leaders and civil
society activists who spoke to The New Age Voices accused ZANU PF
of trying to hide their failure over the years to bring a solution
to the country's problems on non-existent sanctions.
of the Students
Solidarity Trust (SST) Masimba Nyamanhindi said that ZANU PF
wanted to divert people's attention from real issues affecting
them by employing the blame game tactic which has been their hallmark
of the opinion that this sanctions mantra is just a blame game by
ZANU PF, whereby they are attempting to identify anyone and anything
other than themselves, to blame for the political and economic malaise
that we find ourselves in as a country. They are trying to ply victim
when they are the aggressors who have put sanctions on the people
they are supposed to lead," said Nyamanhindi.
Youth Agenda Trust Coordinator
and board Members of the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) Arnold Chamunogwa
said, "Sanctions have become an albatross on the people's
struggle as they have stood at the road to democracy in Zimbabwe.
ZANU PF has found a smokescreen to shield its crimes committed against
the people and justify its looting and plundering of national resources.
ZANU PF has intensified its war against the people and this has
been disguised as a 'war against sanctions'. It is young
people who have been causalities of the ZANU PF's 'war
against sanctions'. It is therefore important for both the
local political leadership and international community to make meaningful
steps aimed towards removal of sanctions. The restoration of human
rights and dignity is definitely a prerequisite and when such reforms
begin the international community should also make steps towards
reengagement," Chamunogwa said.
Constitution Assembly (NCA) press and liaison officer and former
Blessing Vava castigated Mugabe and ZANU PF of trying to fool people
into believing that travel restrictions imposed on his inner circle
He said hat the party's
bigwigs had been used to squandering taxpayers money through endless
expeditions in the west and so cannot stomach the EU restrictions.
"Mugabe and his cronies have caused untold suffering to the
people of Zimbabwe and therefore they deserve to be put on sanctions
and now they want to pretend as if the sanctions are economic when
it is an open secret that they are travel restrictions. However,
they have managed to dupe many into buying their propaganda blaming
the failure of government programs to sanctions. They have been
enjoying the comfort of their children learning in overseas universalities
at the expense of taxpayers," Vava said.
Forum said that these sanctions were called by Mugabe himself.
"We believe Zimbabwe should not become a cry baby and blame
everything on sanctions. Ian Smith managed to 'bypass'
real sanctions and not these that ZANU PS is bickering about.
It is also funny that
Mugabe, who once shouted to the whole World to hear, 'So Blair
keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe', is the one
who is crying foul on sanctions. The West is simply doing what Mugabe
called for. Let us not lose focus on important issues and concentrate
on the so-called sanctions. Are the sanctions responsible for the
closure of UZ halls of residence? Are they responsible for the violence
rocking Harare, lack of media reform and the non functional human
rights commission?" asked Youth Forum.
In an interview with
the New Age Voices, political analyst and activist Promise Mkwanazi
said that it was important for the West to keep perpetrators of
human rights abuses under tight check.
that there is need to maintain a ban on the individuals who have
been at the forefront of perpetrating human rights violations in
Zimbabwe. Secondly, the sanctions have been instigated by ZANU PF
top officials who have continued to behave in a manner that bastardizes
the rule of law in Zimbabwe. I urge ZANU PF officials on the sanctions
list to expedite the full implementation of the GPA
leading to the conducting of free and fair elections whose outcome
will be respected. This way the ZANU PF officials will remove themselves
from the sanctions list. Ray Kaukonde is a classic example of a
ZANU PF leader who condemned violence and was removed form the list,
he can now trade freely, and other should follow suit," Mkwananzi
with pro-democracy institute Idasa Sydney Masamvu argues that the
two recent calls by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Ian
Khama of Botswana are an attempt 'to be politically correct'.
"These leaders know that right now there is a need for a compromise
between the EU, the US, SA and whole SADC region," he said.
in Zimbabwe Coalition programme manager Pedzisai Ruhanya says
the latest calls are an attempt to 'redeem an illegitimate
regime'. "We have a serious problem with SAADC, they
do not seem to understand that Mugabe has put internal sanctions
on the country through murder, torture and kidnapping. As I speak
to you right now, I do not know what will happen to me in the next
hour, there is no freedom of expression here," Ruhanya was
quoted as saying in Business Day of South Africa.
In a statement on its
website, the British Embassy said the European Union has had a series
of restrictive measures in place on Zimbabwe since 2022, an arms
embargo, a travel ban and an assets freeze targeted at a list of
individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses, disregard
for the rule of law and undermining democratic freedoms.
The Embassy said that
the measures had no impact on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
"The EU has also consistently made clear that the measures
would be reviewed at any time in response to genuine reform and
respect for international norms," said the Embassy.
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