IN a move that can be best described as shocking, the white community in Zimbabwe is advocating the total removal of the illegal economic sanctions which were imposed against Zimbabwe by the European Union (EU) and the United States.
The illegal sanctions were imposed after the ZANU PF government moved to repossess land previously owned by a few whites in 2000 after Britain and America had reneged on their commitment of funding the Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe.
What raises eyebrows is that the white community which applauded sanctions due to their open support of the MDC when they were imposed are now advocating their unconditional removal.
But ZANU PF’s landslide victory in the July 31 2013 harmonised elections signalled the beginning of shift in stance on the part of the EU which in the past few months has been making overtures aimed re engaging with Zimbabwe.
The joining of the anti-sanctions bandwagon by the whites is confirmation of the realisation by the West that the sanctions embargo have failed to achieve their intended goals.
Late last year, the EU was rocked by serious divisions when Belgium broke ranks with the bloc and pushed for the lifting of the sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) in order to buy diamonds from the country.
This week, the 28-member EU suspended illegal sanctions on eight service chiefs, politicians and war veterans, except the First Family.
ZANU PF has always insisted the sanctions were illegal and unjustifiable and punishment for embarking on land reform.
The recent lifting of the illegal sanctions and the noise by White Zimbabweans is a clear sign that the whites have been defeated in their regime change programme and are now trying to reengage ZANU PF.
Addressing journalists on Monday, Matthew Smith who is the chairman of the group which was founded by former Zimbabwe national cricket team skipper Heath Streak, said, they are going to officially launch their movement on March 24.
Smith said they called for the press conference because they wanted to send a message to the European meeting in Brussels yesterday and on whose agenda was the review of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
He said his group is apolitical, non-partisan and speaks as Zimbabweans affected by the illegal economic sanctions in a profoundly negative way whose full impact has never been told.
According to Smith, they formed this lobby group because the world has a wrong perception of Zimbabwe due to negative reports by the Western media.
“We are forming this lobby group because the truth about Zimbabwe needs to be heard and for that truth to be heard it needs to be told from our perspective especially as white Zimbabweans on whose behalf these damaging sanctions were supposedly imposed,” said Smith.
“We are forming this lobby group to call for the total and unconditional lifting of all sanctions on Zimbabwe and on its citizens including the leaders of our country.
l To page 6“We are forming this lobby group because we believe that sanctions imposed against our country by the United Kingdom, United States and European Union are gravely hurting our country economically, and consequently gravely hurting its people including us white Zimbabweans.”
Smith said the sanctions are not only targeted, but in fact broad – based financial sanctions in their nature and their impact as exemplified by the United States Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act of 2001.
He challenged the United Kingdom, United States and the EU for the sanctions saying they are affecting every Zimbabwean.
“Whether you call them smart or targeted measures of financial sanctions, their effect has neither been smart nor target as it consumed Zimbabwe and all citizens in one and the same negative way without discrimination.
“If any of the sanctions are maintained, we will all lose, but if all the sanctions are unconditionally lifted, we will all win and a new progressive page will be turned among Zimbabweans and between them and international community.”
In his statement, Matthew Smith encouraged Prime Minister of Britain David Cameroon to attend the EU-Africa summit in Brussels this April, and to meet President Mugabe.
“We therefore respectfully ask Prime Minister David Cameron to attend the EU-Africa summit in Brussels, and to meet with President Robert Mugabe, to listen to his point of view and to help make the changes necessary in order that we as Zimbabweans of all races and ethnic groups may live better lives,” he said.
Matthew Smith encouraged the President of the United States Barack Obama to invite President Mugabe to the US-Africa summit.
He asked the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development to change its policy and stance on Zimbabwe.
“We ask Barack Obama to invite our President to the US-Africa summit and to meet our President to help to repeal the Zimbabwe Democratic Economic Recovery Act in order for us Zimbabweans to live better lives including opening new avenues for mutual interaction between Zimbabweans and Americans,” said Smith.
Despite making news after calling for the unconditional lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe in 2002, the question most Zimbabweans are asking is “Where were these white folks all along?”