A million signatures against sanctions
THE Zimbabwe National Elders Forum has joined hands with Faith for the Nation Campaign to petition the United States and European Union to end economic sanctions on the country.
The two organisations met In Harare on Friday and launched an initiative to collect one million signatures against the sanctions.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government is on a global engagement and re-engagement drive to end the sanctions, and the campaign has received backing from international leaders and local businesspersons.
The ZNEF/FNC petition reads, in part, “On the grounds of the human suffering caused by every form of sanctions imposed on the nation of Zimbabwe and on some of its business and leaders, the said governments (EU, Britain and US) reconsider and withdraw all forms of sanctions.
“We also appeal on the government of United States of America to repeal the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic recovery Act (Zidera).
“In the same spirit of compassion for the poor, we furthermore appeal to all political players in Zimbabwe to desist from employing calls for sanctions as a weapon of political contestation.”
At the inaugural Zimbabwe Unity and Sanctions Relief meeting, FNC chair Reverend Andrew Wutawunashe urged Zimbabweans at home and abroad to sign the anti-sanctions petition.
“We are appealing to these Western governments to hear the voice of the church and lift the sanctions as soon as possible. Sanctions have stifled economic growth because Zidera blocks Zimbabwe from enjoying financial support from international financial institutions.
“We must all speak with one voice against the sanctions because they affect all of us despite political affiliation. Sanctions destroy lives because they cause poverty and suffering.”
ZNEF chair Bishop Felix Mukonowengwe said they were inspired by how the church played a leading role in Zambia’s debt cancellation initiative after the turn of the millennium.
“Our initiative was inspired by a research that was conducted recently by the University of Zimbabwe which revealed that sanctions were not hurting the targeted people but the vulnerable,” he added.
Last week, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the EU to remove any remaining sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Billionaire businessman and Econet executive chair Dr Strive Masiyiwa has also added his voice to the crusade, saying President Mnangagwa’s administration is sincere in addressing challenges facing Zimbabwe and should be given the chance to do its work without impediment.