By Thandiwe Garusa
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora Friday called for the immediate removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and Western countries saying they were hurting the ordinary citizens more than the targeted individuals.
Briefing journalists at his party headquarters in Harare in response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa Thursday, Mwonzora said the sanctions are giving the ruling Zanu PF party an opportunity mask high-level corruption in government and the incompetence exhibited by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
“We also agree that Zimbabwe’s international isolation must now be removed,” he said.
“This international isolation is not benefiting the people of Zimbabwe rather it is benefitting the very people targeted by the sanctions.
“If you go to Borrowdale, Glen Lorne, Mt Pleasant Heights, all those rich suburbs, you will see new buildings being constructed, sometimes by the very people that the sanctions are supposed to target.
“We believe that sanctions, as things stand, give a ready explanation for people to explain away their incompetence. They also unfortunately lead to opaqueness in our systems,” Mwonzora said.
He added; “People smuggle gold on the basis that there are sanctions. So, that excuse must be removed.
“In 2012, our founding father Morgan Tsvangirai travelled to Australia where he advocated for the removal of sanctions on the basis that these sanctions were hurting the very people that they were meant to protect.
“They were benefitting the very people that they were supposed to be punished. They were not achieving their intended purposes.
“We have been under sanctions for more than two decades, the lives of Zimbabweans have not improved, the social and electoral systems have not improved and, therefore, we think that they are not working. If anything they give people the ready excuse to explain their corruption and so on.