THE recent appeal by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, while addressing a virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, has to be given due consideration, especially by those countries which have imposed sanctions on others.
COVID-19 has recognised no boundaries in its murderous march across the world, killing both the rich and the poor.
To make matters worse, the whole world seems to have been caught unawares as this deadly virus wreaks havoc across the globe.
Its dastardly effects are equally felt.
Thus, for once, the whole world, both developed and developing nations, were expected to unite for a common cause, while the more affluent victims of this virus were expected to demonstrate their altruism by coming to the rescue of struggling nations.
“When the world is confronted by monumental challenges such as the ones caused by this pandemic, global solidarity ceases to be an option,” argues President Mnangagwa.
This call for solidarity against this global human crisis is echoed by other world leaders.
These include UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.
But there are some who, paradoxically, call themselves champions of human rights who seem to have different ideas.
And Zimbabwe finds itself a victim.
It boggles the mind why a superpower like the US continues with its illegal punitive sanctions against a small developing country like Zimbabwe.
It is the mantra of the US and its Western allies that sanctions against Zimbabwe are targeted.
But COVID-19 attacks indiscriminately.
Offering no-sanctions reprieve is tantamount to condemning the entire nation, without distinction of any particular class of citizens.
Under sanctions, it becomes very difficult to control COVID-19.
Yet this is a glorious opportunity for the US to show its human face by redirecting their energy targeted at sanctions to COVID-19, instead of punishing a drought savaged country like Zimbabwe.
By clinging to sanctions, the US looks like a sadist using a sledge hammer to finish off an ant.
Removal of sanctions will give the country access to more resources to fight this killer virus.
Under present circumstances, the issue is not necessarily the lifting of illegal sanctions per se.
That’s a conversation for another day.
What is at stake is the lifting of the COVID-19 above the illegal sanctions.
The fight against COVID-19 should take precedence over everything else.
Even in times of war, when a common threat arises, it is not uncommon for the belligerents to call for a ceasefire to jointly deal with a shared threat.
Right now, is there a more common universal threat than COVID-19!
In the face of COVID-19, Zimbabwe is a country whose health delivery system has already been decimated by US illegal sanctions.
Even under these circumstances, we are not considered for debt relief or offered a relaxed arreas clearance programme.
Spurious reasons are given, yet we know it is part of the US sanctions.
The US controls the IMF and the World Bank which were expected to come to our rescue.
These Bretton Woods institutions are instead used as instruments of putting the final nail in the Zimbabwe sanctions coffin.
We believe voices from SADC, NAM, UN, AU and the world at large will finally persuade the US to lift its illegal sanctions, especially during this COVID-19 era.