Sanctions: Econet, NGOs Damascene moment

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THE recent admission by Econet Wireless and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that the destructive effects of the illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe have had a toll on their operations is a sobering reality check.
Firstly, the revelation by Econet Wireless and the NGOs debunks the propaganda claim by Western countries and the MDC-T that the sanctions are only targeted at President Robert Mugabe and his so-called ‘inner circle’.
But it is a matter of public record that the United States passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in 2001 that has since been renamed the Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.
Under this Act, all lines of credit on Zimbabwe were cut from multilateral lending institutions, resulting in the spectacular collapse of the country’s economy.
Yet the Americans have vowed not to move an inch in so far as removing the sanctions is concerned.
Several companies continue to have their funds intercepted by the United States (US) State Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
We have to forge ahead as a nation knowing fully that the sanctions are here to stay.
Announcing investment figures recently, Econet Wireless chief executive, Douglas Mboweni lamented the effects of the sanctions.
Mboweni said the embargo had created what he described as a ‘very difficult environment’ for the company.
“We are not going to stop trying to serve our community despite what has been a very difficult environment because of factors like sanctions,” said Mboweni.
“We cannot afford to give up, as business people we have to do everything possible to mobilise investment and find innovative solution for everything we do.”
While the reality of the widely discredited sanctions embargo has never been in doubt, it is the hypocrisy being exhibited by the likes of Econet whose owner, Strive Masiyiwa has failed to explain his alleged links with the opposition MDC-T.
That Econet Wireless was largely silent on the issue of sanctions since their inception over a decade ago is a case that needs serious and thorough probing if we are to know who our true friends are as a country.
What did Econet Wireless aim to achieve by suffering silently when the whole nation buckled under the sanctions?
Who did they intend to please with their silence? Was someone secretly compensating them their losses?
Zimbabweans must be wary of the intentions of NGOs who only in July this year were aiding the MDC-T’s cause to effect regime change in the country.
A local daily, The Herald, recently reported that the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO)-an umbrella civil society body with almost 1 000 quasi-political members had admitted that the West’s illegal economic sanctions had deeply affected its (regime change agenda) operations and was willing to partner Government in ‘fighting’ the embargo.
This surely must rank as the joke of the year.
What has changed in the past three months that has prompted the so-called civil society to take this new stance?
Are we not being lulled into sleep while the regime change agenda strategists chart a new way forward?
In December 2011, The Patriot published a shocking list of NGOs and the huge amounts of money they received from their Western donors and funders to help effect regime change.
We also exposed how many of these NGOs digressed from their mandates to being a part of the Western assault on the Government of Zimbabwe as they proliferated when sanctions constrained government’s capacity to fund key developmental programmes.
We have not forgotten.
We will always remember that Zimbabwe hosts over 2 500 NGOs mostly Western- sponsored.
We have also not forgotten that the MDC-T, its partner in the regime change agenda crime is currently regrouping ahead of another assault on Zimbabwe’s democracy.
Let us not be fooled by such tactics.
“We recognise that there are sanctions in the country,” NANGO treasurer, Paul Juru told the media recently.
“They are real and those people that are vulnerable are at the receiving end.”
That is the precise intention of the sanctions, to punish the vulnerable so that they turn against their government.
“We are determined to engage relevant powers towards the scrapping of the sanctions,” said Juru.
“We are looking forward to working with Government in identifying international players who will have a voice in the scrapping off of the embargo.”
While he was saying that, another group of NGOs will soon visit South Africa for the forthcoming Kimberley Process Plenary Session in Cape Town to protest against the lifting of sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) by the European Union.
“These sanctions should be scrapped off like yesterday, the international community should know that the sanctions are hitting hard on the Zimbabwean community,” Juru said.
While we applaud Econet Wireless and NGOs for finally seeing the light, it is imperative that Zimbabweans take such utterances with a pinch of salt.
Some of them played an active role in the regime change agenda and to just wake up and tell us that they have finally smelled the coffee is a bit suspicious.
Let those with ears listen.

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