HARARE – President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA of SOUTH AFRICA has added his voice to the call for Western powers to lift economic sanctions they imposed on ZIMBABWE about 20 years ago.
Media reports say he has spoken on the side-lines of a meeting of the International Labour Organisation ahead of the just ended World Economic Forum in the SWISS resort town of DAVOS.
President RAMAPHOSA says ZIMBABWE has managed to hold successful general elections after emerging from a very difficult political situation.
However, he says BRITAIN, the EUROPEAN UNION and AMERICA maintain their embargo on the SADC country, chocking all government efforts to revive the battered economy it inherited.
The SOUTH AFRICAN Leader says his country is among the others calling on the world to relax or lift the illegal sanctions altogether, to enable ZIMBABWE to enjoy the economic fruits it is capable to produce.
President RAMAPHOSA says the global community can help the new administration, which is only about SIX months old in office, to correct the unpalatable fiscal situation if the rich countries remove the restrictions currently in place.
However, the sanctions against ZIMBABWE will be difficult to understand unless people get a clear picture of their major reason – which is a Western retaliation to land repossessions the country carried out in 2000 and onwards.
Victims of the massive agrarian reforms are mostly of BRITISH origin, who had hitherto enjoyed lavish lives, generation after generation, for some 110 years.
BRITAIN had sponsored the BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA COMPANY of CECIL JOHN RHODES in 1890, when some 500 white traders and armed thugs crossed the LIMPOPO River to capture the territory stretching to the ZAMBEZI River in the north.
The Company displaced all the indigenous black communities from their homes and crowded them into labour reserves where they had to irk a living by tilling rocky fields or by working for wages on their former land, now in the hands of the invaders.
Former dictator ROBERT MUGABE, ONE of the few AFRICANS to be knighted by the BRITISH Empire at BUCKINGHAM Palace, had dilly-dallied with the resettlement issue for 20 years since independence, protecting white commercial farmers.
Efforts at the end of the 20TH Century to replace the ceasefire agreement then governing the country with a national constitution met with stiff resistance from the farmers, since the proposed law would allow the State to take over their land for black occupation.
The farmers sponsored a group of labour leaders to form the opposition MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE, allegedly with the help of AMERICAN and BRITISH agents, and managed to secure a NO vote in the ballot.
After Mr MUGABE accepted the results, former liberation war fighters in the south-eastern region led a fierce mass movement onto the commercial farms and launched what became known as Hondo ye Minda (War for Farmlands), which later spread countrywide.
The government failed to contain the new revolution and decided to go along with the protestors, a move that BRITAIN immediately described as an abandonment of the rule of law – and it campaigned, successfully, for the global isolation of its former colony.
The UNITED STATES was the harshest super power in response to the appeal, as it went to the extent of coming up with a law – the infamous ZIMBABWE Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, ZIDERA of 2001 – which literary bars trade with ZIMBABWE.
The actions of the powerful nations have seen industry closing down, the national currency disappearing and being replaced by a multi-currency regime, massive unemployment, rise of political unrest, infrastructure falling apart, and poverty levels worsening daily.
The call by the SOUTH AFRICAN President for them to lift the sanctions comes amid opposition calls back in SOUTH AFRICA calling on him to reprimand the ZIMBABWEAN Leader for what they describe as human rights violations.
The DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE reportedly has threatened to approach the International Criminal Court if he fails to intervene directly to stop the ongoing alleged violations by the government of ZIMBABWE.
Media reports say the group has called on President RAMAPHOSA to re-think about what it calls his quiet diplomacy and advise the neighbouring Head of State to stop the military clampdown allegedly on civilians.
The DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE says it strongly believes the human rights crisis currently obtaining in ZIMBABWE is of sufficient gravity to justify a probe by the International Criminal Court.
Its Shadow Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, STEVEN MOKGALAPA, quotes the ZIMBABWE Human Rights NGO Forum as claiming at least 12 people have been killed, 78 shot, and 240 others exposed to assault, torture, plus cruel and shameful treatment.
The ZIMBABWEAN Government, which insists sanctions are its major problem, has denounced the violence; saying everyone in the country has the right to protest, but they should do so lawfully and peacefully./Sabanews/cam