WHEN US Department of State Sanctions Coordinator James Obrien grudgingly admitted last week that his country’s illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe have made the country a risky investment destination, scared away potential investors and resulted in immense loss of opportunities for the masses, that would have been a moment to say the West has acknowledged the evilness of the embargo.
But history, forever a reliable ally, has given us stinging lessons never to trust the West.
The West’s grim future of their tumbling economies and loosening grip on global political and economic affairs has made them desperate.
It has been a nightmarish year for the US and the EU as their reckless foreign policy of abrasion has returned to haunt them with China, Russia and now the likes of Saudi Arabia, India and others studiously standing up to the West’s waning unipolar politics.
Currently, the West is beset by fiery demonstrations over its decision to slap Russia with illegal economic sanctions that have severely affected and caused Western nations’ standards of living to plummet.
Rising food and gas prices, coupled with increasing inflation and an unavoidable recession have seen people taking to the streets in the UK, France and Germany, while Uncle Sam is confronted with prospects of an uprising by an agitated populace over its ill-thought decision to pour billions of dollars into supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia at a time its economy is collapsing.
Recent efforts by US leader, the clueless Joe Biden, to coerce Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to counter Russia’s production were rebuffed by the rich Middle East country.
And, as is always the case, when the US fails to get its way, it threatens to unleash sanctions on its opponents, real but mostly imagined.
But the Saudis are unmoved by Uncle Sam’s insanity and are set to join the fast rising BRICS, a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, that are emerging as the to-go-places in terms of win-win economic partnerships countering the West’s control of falling lending institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.
This bodes well for Harare’s economic revival efforts which have been severely hampered by the West’s evil sanctions.
Zimbabwe has repulsed Western sanctions while the US and the EU have sent signals that they are ready to do business with the country.
While re-engagement is good, there can never be clemency for those who were complicit in the bludgeoning of the country’s economy through those illegal sanctions.
Former opposition kingpin Tongai Matutu last week made public a list of individuals and organisations which took part in the calling and imposition of the debilitating sanctions.
That list should be the basis for stern action against those whose despicable actions have wrought untold suffering to the citizens of this country.
Leader of the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement (ZASM) Rutendo Benson Matinyarare has indicated that his organisation will soon begin civil proceedings against those who called for the imposition of sanctions on the country.
These people, together with their handlers, must account for their gory actions against the masses.
But it is Obrien’s seemingly innocuous but rather belated admission that his country’s sanctions have taken a toll on the livelihoods of the general populace and business that needs to be thoroughly probed.
While it would seem, on paper, that Uncle Sam is finally in tandem with the suffering it has brought to the country, the stinking reality is that the suffocating stench of his actions will remain a permanent feature of the lives of many ordinary Zimbabweans unless those sanctions are removed in their entirety.
Also, Uncle Sam can do the country a favour by compensating it for loss of business and opportunities.
Obrien’s presentation was no more than a flimsy attempt to sanitise the devastating effects of sanctions while at the same time presenting him as a saviour of some sort.
Let no one be fooled by these infantile antics.
“We are aware that because of the depth of the problem and the duration of this (sanctions) programme, probably there are a lot of companies that believe that doing business in Zimbabwe is just too difficult and that does cost opportunities for the people of Zimbabwe,” said Obrien.
“We are well aware that in difficult environments, companies may decide not to be involved for a host of reasons and one of those reasons may be the risk that either new sanctions will be put in place or current sanctions are not clear.
We are, however, willing to be always speaking with businesses or work with those who fear that sanctions are getting in the way of legitimate business activity.”
He went on, citing recent lobbying for the removal of the sanctions by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and several African leaders in the US last month as basis for engagement.
“It is an example of the kind of consultation that we prize and that is also something we can never do enough, and we will continue to do better. Having conversations with the neighbours, with important regional powers, the SADC, AU and others was very important in the recent changes and will continue to be as we review the programme,” he said.
“We are consulting closely with our partners in the region so there are concerns, SADC has spoken out, the AU, a number of African governments have spoken about what the right approach is to Zimbabwe and my colleagues who work on policy towards Zimbabwe are in regular conversation with them, but we also use that as an opportunity to look at the sanctions programme itself. Earlier this year, we delisted 11 people and we continue to look carefully at the programme.”
The question that remains outstanding is: After Uncle Sam has finally and openly admitted that his sanctions have taken a toll on the country’s economy, what next?
There is a likelihood that the West will maintain those sanctions in the vain hope that their local puppets, the opposition CCC, would spring a surprise in next year’s harmonised elections.
Once their puppets are thumped, as they surely will, Western countries will dangle the engagement carrot in order to lull us false hope.
But we are watching every move they make and there will be no space for enemies in the new world order.
The sanctions must be removed now.