A mil­lion sig­na­tures against sanc­tions

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Veron­ica Gwaze

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.

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