EDITORIAL COMMENT : We may as well learn from the Americans

STRIVE MASIYIWA is Zimbabwe’s first black billionaire, he is a respected businessman whose business interests straddle the African continent.

He certainly knows what he will be talking about when he calls for the lifting of the West’s illegal sanctions regime because as a man in business, he knows only too well the effects of the US sanctions law, the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, Zdera.

Econet Wireless, which Masiyiwa founded, is Zimbabwe’s top performing blue chip company with interests throughout the continent as well as in Europe and the United States.

Five years ago, Econet announced that sanctions had hamstrung its operations over the years as they poisoned the operating environment.

It is important to note that Econet is a global conglomerate, whose operations in other parts of the world would naturally shield it from the effects of the sanctions. Now consider the impact of the ruinous sanctions on small companies operating in Zimbabwe only as well as the generality of the people who know no other country, but Zimbabwe, and the picture gets really dire.

We all know that the global financial system is basically controlled by the US, which is why for instance millions of dollars in payments due to Zimbabwean companies were pounced upon by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

With the US sanctions regime in place, it is difficult for Zimbabwean companies to trade internationally and investors to come to Zimbabwe without inviting the wrath of the hawks in Washington.

This is why Masiyiwa, on Tuesday, called for the lifting of the sanctions regime saying the new dispensation had brought real change which made the sanctions unjustifiable.

Zimbabwe, he said, could not continue operating with hands tied behind its back.

We applaud Mr Masiyiwa for telling it like it is and call on other businessmen to step up to the plate and tell the US to lift its ruinous sanctions regime that is estimated to have cost Zimbabwe over US$42 billion in revenue since the turn of the millennium.

Surprisingly some myopic Zimbabweans, without two coins to rub together, spent the better part of yesterday pillorying Mr Masiyiwa for calling for the removal of sanctions with the duplicitous opposition joining the fray in insulting him.

It is ironic that there are some people, who support the sanctions without realising that they are mere pawns to selfish, greenhorn politicians who hope to ride on the people’s misery to State House.

This is why the MDCA would want the sanctions to remain so that all the efforts being made by Government to turnaround the economy come to nothing. They want  hardships to remain so that they continue harvesting protest votes.

That sanctions are hurting ordinary people is not debatable since in the US’ words they were designed to make the Zimbabwean economy scream. The economy has been screaming for close to two decades.

That the sanctions are illegal is also not debatable since they were imposed outside the purview of the United Nations system.

That the sanctions were imposed for the benefit of Zimbabweans is the blue lie we challenge the West to prove.

It is time Zanu-PF, as the majority party, used its parliamentary majority to legislate against enemies of the state.

It should be made illegal and punishable, to support the imposition of and maintenance of sanctions on Zimbabwe. Sanctions are a form of economic warfare and anyone who supports their existence should be identified as such, an enemy of the people of Zimbabwe.

It is quite ironic that the US government which imposed and is maintaining the sanctions regime not only outlaws, but also punishes Americans who consort with foreign governments against the United States.

We may as well learn from the Americans!