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SADC anti-sanctions ceremony held in Ghana

CALLS for the removal of the illegal sanctions continue to grow louder as SADC diplomatic missions held a ceremony in Ghana to join hands in calling for the unconditional removal of the embargo against Zimbabwe, a move Ghana, which has never levied sanctions, supports. The regional body declared October 25 as an Anti-Sanctions Day in solidarity with Zimbabwe.

The day was effectively designated for the collective expression of the disapproval of the continued economic embargo on Zimbabwe by the US, the EU and the UK. The envoys in a communiqué issued at a press conference in Accra were soliciting for the usual support and solidarity in alignment with the collective global commitment “to leave no one behind”.

The SADC Heads of Mission who issued the communiqué comprised Zimbabwean Ambassador Mr Kufa Chinoza, the chairperson of the association, Zambian High Commissioner Mr Richard Mwanza, South African High Commissioner Ms Grace Mason, Namibian High Commissioner Ms Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, and Angolan Ambassador Mr Joao Domingos Baptista Quiosa.

The envoys reiterated this call after their meeting marking the October 25 Zimbabwe Anti-Sanction Day. They said Ghana’s support was in line with the practical furtherance of the spirit of multilateralism.

“We call for the urgent removal of all sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, for the good of the country itself and its people as well as for the good of the region and the world,” read the communiqué.

“The envoys would therefore like to join other SADC Missions, on the third consecutive year, around the globe in reiterating their call for the lifting of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom.”

The visit to Zimbabwe by Professor Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur, at the invitation of the Government of Zimbabwe, was a welcome development with further hopes that her findings and recommendations would lead to a positive outcome and relief, for Zimbabwe, from more than 20 years of sanctions.

The envoys said the sanctions had continued to hamper recapitalisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe’s industries at a time the nation was seeking effective participation in the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area.

It said the ongoing and devastating Covid-19 pandemic continued to negatively impact on the health, education and sanitation infrastructure. It noted that resultantly, the country suffered an estimated $21 billion reduction in gross domestic product over the 20-year period of isolation.

They said SADC’s solidarity with Zimbabwe arose as well from the realisation that sanctions against the country had also impacted the broader SADC region, most notably by way of Zimbabwe failing to meet agreed regional macro-economic convergence and other integration targets, even prior to Covid-19, thereby negatively affecting overall regional economic performance.

The envoys said Zimbabwe had been unable to meet agreed tariff-phase down schedules under the SADC Trade Protocol, the Tripartite Free Trade Area and the AfCFTA. They said the SADC region had noted the commitment by the Zimbabwean Government to dialogue through its engagement and re-engagement drive as evidence by the dialogue process between Zimbabwe and the EU, the UK and the International community.

Mr Chinoza, who read the communiqué, appealed to ECOWAS to join SADC in the fight to get the illegal sanction lifted from Zimbabwe. Mr Quiosa said countries in the SADC region were united in their efforts to get the sanction lifted from Zimbabwe and appealed to other African nations to join the fight in getting the sanction removed.

Ms Mason said SADC and the rest of Africa were together in the cause of getting Zimbabwe’s sanctions removed.

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