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Zimbabwe sanctions: The truth
Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2008

By Stephen T. Maimbodei
July 29, 2008
The Herald

I have said it before and I will say it again without any apologies. Even then, there are still some who are awestruck at the continued attempts by the West (read Britain and America) to make Zimbabwe Africa's protracted battleground for their imperialistic and hegemonic interests.

Last Monday was an unlikely possibility, which has left them exposed and embarrassed, and, at the very least, angry too. To the Americans, British and their European Union allies, last Monday was not supposed to be. It was an aberration, something that has to be erased not only from memory, but also from history.

As an insider to the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding revealed that there was then no option for them except to go back to the original template and salvage the little they could.

And that little is a very punitive but equally unimaginative strategy of more sanctions, more travel bans, more frozen assets, and expanded or extended sanctions against President Mugabe and what they insist are his cronies.

Thus sanctions and their physical and psychological effects have now become the Rock of Gibraltar that they are now standing on in their fight to reclaim Zimbabwe as their pet.

The reason is there for all to see. These sanctions that are imposed time and again, are meant to achieve one thing, and one thing only for the British, and that is to illegally remove President Mugabe from power at whatever cost and replace him with anyone who will deliver the country to them.

This goes beyond the opposition. It is simply about having in State House anyone but President Mugabe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy in his "accolades" towards President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa summed it up very well last week when he said that while they applauded the South African leader's role as mediator, as EU chairman he was not prepared to talk to President Mugabe . . . ever.

This could intrinsically be concluded to mean that whatever result comes out of the talks, the West do not expect President Mugabe to be a major player in the future Zimbabwe.

This was a reiteration of statements they had earlier made when they emphatically stated that the EU would not recognise any other election result except the inconclusive March 29 results.

Zimbabwe has also shown them that the carrot-and-stick policy that they use, and their policy of permanent interests and not permanent friends or enemies, will not work, for it was easy for Zimbabwe to adopt a "Look East" policy whereby new players in Zimbabwe's economy were brought on board.

Therefore, the current wave of sanctions imposed by both the United States and the EU are nothing but "expressions of anger and frustration" from imperialist forces that realise that the rug has been pulled off from under their feet.

Sanctions are also being used against the people of Zimbabwe as a means for them to regain lost and wounded pride.

One writer, Timothy Kalyegira, has said: "How come, for all this obvious evidence, nobody has asked the simple question: is this Zimbabwe story real or an orchestrated series of events by the British and American governments and media to punish Mugabe for humiliating the white settlers in Zimbabwe?"

How come also that the international community is not questioning why, for example, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown – who has been experiencing a string of increasingly embarrassing losses at the polls – has made Zimbabwe his main target?

While Zimbabweans have resolved that they are prepared to solve their own problems without outside interference, why then are Brown, Bush and the whole EU muscle being force-fed on Zimbabwe?

Why is the "international community" also not questioning the fact that by extending sanctions to Zimbabwean companies, they are also directly imposing sanctions against all the international markets that those companies deal with in China, Russia, India, South Africa, etc?

What of the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who depend on their livelihoods from production at these companies? Have they not also been put on the sanctions list?

According to Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, while the British want to maintain their hegemony on Zimbabwe, they have also realised that they are losing the fight and now they are feeling the pinch: losing control, losing access to resources and also losing markets to emerging powers such as Brazil, Russia, China and India.

He also argued that Britain especially is finding it difficult to extricate itself from Zimbabwe, because doing so would mean major losses for British businesses. As a former coloniser, Britain, with the help of the US, is also finding it very difficult to face up to these new challenges that are a result of its refusal to meet its obligations regarding the land reform programme.

Cde Mutsvangwa also argues that Britain and its Western allies have, however, unwittingly applied the law of unintended consequences.

By vilifying and demonising President Mugabe, they thought that it would be a done deal in their quest to recolonise Zimbabwe without realising that they were actually preparing the ground for Zimbabwe's own thrust to deal with its detractors and fully establish itself as a sovereign state. For it has become the best marketing tool in selling Zimbabwe, at no cost at all, though the downside is the immense suffering that the people are going through.

With the positive vibes coming from the South African-mediated talks, it is quite apparent that all the nations that have been bombarded with news about Zimbabwe will, at the end of it all, want to be part of this Zimbabwe in terms of foreign direct investment and tourism.

Meanwhile, despite this current aggression and onslaught, the people of Zimbabwe will continue to demand that there should be no outside interference in their internal affairs, and that they are masters of their destiny, and that they do not need the strings attached "assistance" from the West, especially Britain and America.

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