Ms. Miriam Mutizwa, a human rights activist, called yesterday to give her deposit on whether sanctions imposed primarily by the US government since 2001 should be removed or should remain as leverage to lift Zimbabwe out of its current political and economic mess.
A dispute seems to be in existence between the US administration and the Zimbabwean government as to whether the conditions set out in the ZIDERA Act and its subsequent 2018 amendment have been met.
President Mnangagwa has made a number of positive and encouraging pronouncements since assuming office following the military assisted removal of Mugabe but the US administration is yet to be impressed by concrete translation of words into deeds on the ground.
Mr. Strive Masiyiwa has emerged as the strongest private sector voice, albeit in a personalized framework, to stand out as the most visible proponent for the removal of sanctions.
Mr. Masiyiwa has said: “Is that ($10 million donated to fight cholera) what angered you? I did that to save lives and I will do it again, so long as I have breath in me. I am with the people of Zimbabwe and their suffering must end and end now. Sanctions must end and name-calling will not intimidate me.”
It is against this backdrop that the Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF) team sought to provoke, ignite and inspire a a new conversation around the critical importance of the rule of law and constitutionalism, a key objective of the US sanctions, in building an inclusive and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Ms. Mutizwa had the following to say:
I was pleasantly surprised to read this tweet from Mr. Busisa Moyo, the former President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry, as follows:
I have been advocating for the repeal of the Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act (the Act) and at times I felt I was backing a wrong horse especially after what Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa had tweeted to the effect that it was right to suspect any call for justice, outside the traditional voices, in Zimbabwe, as having been sponsored for ulterior motives.
It was refreshing that Mr. Moyo after exchanges on social media, which exchanges I followed closely, that he effective from 4 January 2019, he has become a fellow advocate with me for the repeal of the Reconstruction Act among other laws that have yet to be aligned to the 2013 Constitution.
It is rare that a person like Mr. Moyo would proceed to credit other private citizens like Mawere and Ndoro for igniting him to look critically at the Reconstruction Act.
I have said before that this law applies retrospectively making its existence and operation a real risk that if not nipped in the bud could very well be used against many other companies going forward.
I also took note of another Mr. Moyo share on tweeter as follows:
It is significant that Mr. Moyo correctly observed that in most of our discourses the voice of organized business and labour as social partners is missing on what matters to our common future.
I have said this before that ZIDERA is real indictment on all of us because here you have a foreign government being more concerned about a democratic and accountable government than ourselves.
The continued life of ZIDERA since 2001 goes a long way towards exposing the lack of checks and balances that would ensure that bad laws will never find room to exist in Zimbabwe.
With respect to ZIDERA, we are talking about repealing laws that exist without applying much thought as to naming and shaming the true authors of such repugnant and draconian laws. On the contrary, there are attempts to focus on the removal of a residual weapon available to the people of Zimbabwe to resist tyranny in the name of a new dispensation that is characterised by values that are similar to those that characterised the First Republic.
It is against this background that I found it disturbing that the Mr. Moyo who seems to have accepted the need to give a voice to the importance of us taking ownership as active citizens on what kind of Zimbabwe we want, would say the following words that incidentally have been incorporated in an article published by the Herald Newspaper today under the title: “Sanctions Must End, says Masiyiwa, in a tweet as follows:
It is instructive that Mr. Moyo would find it fit to suggest that he has yet to meet a single businessman worth his salt who is pro-sanctions. I for one would not ordinarily support sanctions or violence but like Mandela said it would be futile to expect a regime steeped in its ways to see value in change. It has taken us 39 years to arrive at a point where laws that were born in the era of independence have to be repealed without ourselves asking key questions about where we all were when these laws were born.
I would have expected Mr. Moyo to say: “I have yet to meat a single Zimbabwean worth his salt who is for the repeal of acts that undermine the rule of law without having the courage to name and shame the brains behind this evil. In addition, I have spoken to organized business and labour as two of the three social partners in the context of the TNF with a view to better organizing ourselves to identify and lobby for the removal of all laws that are inconsistent with our constitution. Furthermore, I have spoken to Zimbabwe’s bilateral and multi-lateral stakeholders so that we can work together as we seek to accelerate the reforms contemplated for our benefit in ZIDERA and any other such limitations imposed on us by our friends.?
On the contrary, I seem to hear one chorus seeking to have sanctions, that we played no part in imposing, removed being the basis of our anger.
What would Zimbabwe hope to benefit by refusing to make our country open for business as a reality through our own actions that can then be augmented by our external partners.
Is it not ironic that even our strategic neighbour like South Africa has no input to assist us in steering our country towards constitutionalism?
I am tired personally of people who are pushing a single lane agenda of lobbying external partners to remove sanctions while doing absolutely nothing on the ground to address positively the reasons what the sanctions were imposed in the first place.”