Mixed feelings in Bulawayo over anti-sanctions march

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

RESIDENTS in Bulawayo have expressed mixed feelings over next week’s anti-sanctions march with some saying government should focus its energies on fixing its own shortcomings than try to influence change of heart among outsiders.

The Zanu PF led government has called for national campaigns for the lifting of the 2001 and 2003 targeted sanctions on Zimbabwean authorities and associated firms by the US and the European Union.

The sanctions were imposed in response to government’s violent seizure of land from the hands of 6 000 white commercial farmers in the country, and alleged poll theft by then President Robert Mugabe’s administration.

Government continues to blame all its economic misfortunes on the effects of the Western embargo and has roped in ordinary Zimbabweans and SADC countries to try and amplify its voice for the unconditional lifting of the measures during concurrent campaigns slated for next Friday.

Authorities have lined up different festivities throughout the country with the highlight being the Harare march and a concert by local musicians at the National Sports Stadium.

But some locals feel they have suffered more as a result of their government’s disastrous policies and corruption more than any diplomatic aggression by foreign powers.

“As Zimbabweans, what we know is that the only sanctions we are suffering are those imposed on us by Zanu PF and its militia,” said one Mbongeni Dube, a city resident.

“I can say the October 25 march is a waste of taxpayers’ money and precious time instead of mobilising for true change that delivers results.”

Another city resident, Wesley Moyo felt a campaign that was not complimented by corresponding change of behaviour by government will not yield the desired outcome.

Nqobile Malikongwa said SADC must abandon its anti-sanctions solidarity campaigns and focus on helping its troubled neighbour emerge out of its economic mess.

He added, “We cannot march to please few individuals who continue to monopolise the government and reaping our resources at the expense of the entire country,” he said.

Those in support of the campaign felt there were more opportunities that stood to be benefited from by the country if the embargo was scrapped.

“…If these sanctions are lifted, a lot of investors will flock into the country and businesses will be boom again. The high unemployment rate will significantly be reduced,” said an optimistic Annabel Manyika.

Western powers that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe have maintained the measures insisting the Zanu PF led regime is unwilling to change behaviour from that which led to the imposition of sanctions.