Fri, 19 Apr 2024 Article

With or without sanctions the land reform in Zimbabwe is irreversible and non-negotiable

By Cde Mafa Kwanisai Mafa
With or without sanctions the land reform in Zimbabwe is irreversible and non-negotiable

On 04 March 2024, the United State President Joe Biden announced the removal of certain economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in order to “support” the country’s economic development and political reforms. The sanctions that were lifted included restrictions on the Zimbabwe government access to international financial institutions and the ability of certain individuals and entities to do business with the USA. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a final rule to remove the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations, terminated by Executive order, 31 CFR parts 541 from the Code of Federal Regulations.

The US sanctions were imposed through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA Act) 2001. This law is supported by Executive Order 13288 which was signed by George W Bush in 2003, which is renewed every year. The Executive Order had the following provision. It declared a national emergency and blocked the property of certain individuals and entities in Zimbabwe. I cited the “ unusual and extra ordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States “ posed by the actions and policies of certain members of the Zimbabwe government .Its justification was that the Zimbabwe government was engaged in actions and policies that undermine democratic processes and institutions, including violence, intimidation and repressive legislation. Authorised the US government to freeze the assets of individuals and entities deemed responsible for undermining democratic processes in Zimbabwe.

So Executive Order 13288 was terminated by Executive order 14353.They have imposed Magnitsky sanctions upon the Zimbabwe President , other entities and other senior Party and government officials. The new sanctions regime under the Global Magnitsky Act it’s a perpetuation of threats to Zimbabwe, so Zimbabwe and Africa must not be too quick to celebrate and be optimistic over this overture by the USA. Sanctions on Zimbabwe must be removed in actuality and totality. This can only be achieved when the ZIDERA Act of 2001 and the 2018 amendment has been repealed. Executive Orders are very weak and they can be revoked by any US sitting President in office at any particular time.

ZIDERA Act will need a congressional two thirds majority to repeal it. President Biden used an Executive Order to discontinue successive orders 1288 of 2003, 13391 0f 2005 and 13469 of 2008. So this means the ZIDERA Act which bought about the sanction in 2001 is still intact and active. So the Global Magnitsky Act is a new dirty economic and political strategy on Zimbabwe to force the government to capitulate to US political and economic pressure. Zimbabwe must remain resolute in defiance to these piecemeal sanction adjustments and ensure that Zimbabwe is not robbed or manipulated of its sovereign right.

The US administration remains adamant that the set of sanctions are targeted whilst the whole country remains unsanctioned. This is not the truth at all. Zimbabwe as a country has been affected by the economic sanctions for the past two decades. The majority of the working class is suffering because of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the European Union and America because of the radical land expropriation by the government of Zimbabwe, the first ever to happen in Africa after the Cold war. Imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe is a declaration of war to the working class, a war without guns and bloodshed but companies close, retrenchments, unemployment, poverty, no drugs, people die.

The objective of these evil sanctions seeks for a “return to the rule of law” in Zimbabwe. But to those imperialists, definition of the rule of law is that which continues to deny impoverished Zimbabweans the right to shelter and food which comes from the land. Real independence requires expropriation of the productive forces .After the independence struggles of Africa in the 1960s and 70s, the ruling black governments govern in the name only and hoist their beautiful colorful flags.Nowhere is Pan Africans being severely tested in Africa than in Zimbabwe. The current tidal wave of global pessimism and sanction against the people of Zimbabwe has made life excruciatingly challenging for the common folk. The government of Zimbabwe sought to unlock the value of its people in an exercise dubbed the Third Chimurenga.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the recent partial removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the USA as “absolute nonsense” and the removal can only become meaningful if the illegal sanctions are removed in total. President’[s Mnangagwa statement is right, because under the international law, the United Nations Security Council declared these sanctions illegal and must be unconditionally removed. The United Nations Security Council is the primary international body mandated to declare economic sanctions on a nation. The Security Council can impose sanctions under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter in response to international peace and security.

The only crime which Zimbabwe did to warrant sanctions was the expropriation of land for the African Masses. In his December 4th 2017 inauguration speech President Mnangagwa reiterated that “given our historical realities, we wish the rest of the world to understand and appreciate that policies and programmes related to land reform were inevitable. Whilst there is a lot we may need to do by way of outcomes, the principle of repossessing our land cannot be challenged or reversed.”

The land was violently expropriated from our ancestors and given to people of European descent whilst the majority of the Africans remain landless. This legacy of colonial land ownership patterns perpetuated social inequality and economic exploitation. Land expropriation in Zimbabwe was a means of reclaiming sovereignty over land resources and rectifying historical injustices and asserts control over the country’s natural resources. Zimbabwe Independence was going to be meaningless when the land remained in the hands of the white minority. Western sanctions on Zimbabwe whether wholly or partially removed like in the current scenario represent a continuation of historical colonial practices aimed at controlling and exploiting African nations for the benefit of Western interests. As Pan Africanists we view sanctions as a tool used by former colonial masters to exert influence and assert dominance over Zimbabwe political and economic affairs. Western powers seek to punish Zimbabwe for pursuing independent policies that challenge western hegemony and prioritise the interests of the African people over foreign capital. This is a form of economic imperialism aimed at maintaining western control and influence in Africa

As Pan Africanists we stress the importance of African solidarity and unity in the face of external pressures and threats. Sanctions on Zimbabwe are meant to divide and weaken the African continent by undermining efforts towards regional integration, cooperation, empowerment and development. By imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, western powers create divisions within the African Union. This undermines the principles of Pan Africanism and reinforces patterns of dependency on external actors. As Pan Africanists we advocate measures such as the land redistribution, nationalization of key industries and investment in social welfare programmes to address historical inequalities and empower marginalized communities. These policies offer a more sustainable and equitable path to development than relying on western aid which come with strings attached. As Pan Africanists we applaud the growing revolutionary winds of change in Western Africa and the anti-French sentiments. We demand the unconditional removal of military bases of France and USA from West Africa.

The partial removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe is viewed as a change of the modus operandi by USA imperialism to trick Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is endowed with over 66 strategic mineral resources and Russia and China are making inroads in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole. USA is losing out on all the economic opportunities in Africa. It has eased sanctions on Zimbabwe in order to hoodwink and cajole the Zimbabwe administration to have a stake in the strategic minerals especially in light of the recently discovered reserves of oil and gas and diamonds. While the Mnangagwa has a new mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business” it must be very careful on who to deal and work with even if its foreign policy is “ a friend to all and an enemy to none. Already the USA government is warming up to Zimbabwe by watering down the sanctions. Recently the US government dispatched a US Senior Advisor on International Relations, sanctions and responsible for business in the Office of the Sanctions Coordinator in the US Treasury, Brad Brooks – Rubin to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has shown a keen interest in joining BRICS and USA is now frantically trying to block Zimbabwe in trading with Russia and China.

The global Magnitsky sanctions recently imposed on President Mnangagwa and some of his senior government officials is a deliberate ploy to arm-twist the government and make it subservient to the USA demands to exploit the strategic resources. The trade wars between global capitalist powers is for the control of energy, natural resources, markets and transport routes for exploitation of Africa to their benefit. This vindicates our concern over the construction of the US embassy in Zimbabwe at the tune of more than US$200 million dollars which is the biggest in Africa. The USA is increasingly feeling threatened by the strengthening up of relations of African nations with Russia and China. The imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by any nomenclature whether ZIDERA Act , Executive Orders or the Global Magnitsky Act are forms of neo-colonialism and imperialism aimed at undermining African sovereignty, solidarity and self-determination. As Pan Africanists we condemn all punitive measures and call upon solidarity among African nations and focus on socialist-oriented policies that prioritise the interests of the African people and promote genuine independence and development.