Zimbabwean authorities, since the time of the late Robert Mugabe, have always said that the sanctions imposed on the country by America and her allies were illegal and were hurting ordinary Zimbabweans the most.
So much damage has been done to the country by these restrictions, which have seen the collapse of industries, the deterioration of the living standards of our people and has reversed the gains of our independence which we had achieved since 1980.
While the US and her allies wanted the world to believe that the sanctions were targeted at a few individuals, the reality on the ground proved otherwise, as most of those ‘targeted individuals’ really didn’t quite feel them as much as the ordinary people did, if at all they were ever personally affected.
Rather, what the sanctions managed to do was to undermine the ordinary people’s right to development because of isolation from the international cooperation.
Whole generations have been lost, as thousands of university graduates churned out of the country’s universities found themselves without jobs, without the proper environment to explore their potential.
The unilateral sanctions, which fall outside the UN framework, have caused serious socio-economic problems in the country.
The public sector has been hit the hardest, with key arms of operation of the state having been sanctioned, weakening state organs and causing the suffering of the majority people.
Retrenchments and company closures, which disrupted production in the local value-chains, affected the majority poor who depended on employment to sustain their families and not much on the so called targeted few.
The country’s education sector has been under a turbulence over the past few years as government failed to raise enough to pay educators living wages as a result of the sanctions, which has made it very difficult for the country to freely trade and earn foreign currency from its vast mineral resources.
It is an open secret that the agenda of the US and her allies was never to promote human rights but instead to keep the country down in retaliation for the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.
This they would achieve by tightening sanctions, enforcement of debt repayment, trade barriers, and IMF/World Bank structural adjustment policies, thus reinforcing their political and economic dominance.
But now that the United Nations has seen it for itself, it only makes sense for the US and her allies to do the right thing and lift the sanctions on Zimbabwe.
They need to observe the principles of international law, as said by the UN Special Rapporteur elsewhere in this publication, including sovereign equality, political independence and non-interference.
Removal of the sanctions would improve the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans and pave way for meaningful engagement with the outside, where diplomacy will be framed in terms other than sanctions.