By Abigail Mzimbawakhe (Midlands Correspondent)
Participants at a discussion that was recently held at the Gweru Memorial Library by the Civil Society and Churches Joint Forum (CSCJF) blamed sanctions for fuelling Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.
Whilst members of the forum blamed sanctions, many people were of the view that corruption and bad governance were the twin evils driving the country towards economic decline.
The facilitator of the event Tobias Saratiel defined sanctions as actions taken against a country or an individual.
“Sanctions have two opposite meanings they can be defined as an approval of something or they give punishment to a country or an individual. Sanctions affect the political, economic and social aspect of the country,” said Saratiel.
National Chairperson of Civil Society and Churches joint Forum, Innocent Netanyahu said while he acknowledges bad governance and corruption, sanctions are rated as the major cause of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.
“There is bad governance and corruption but if I were to rate what is leading to the economic crisis, I would give corruption 5% and sanctions 85% because Zimbabwe has been in an economic war,” he said.
“There are about 72 companies that are under sanctions. Those are sanctions of economic destruction and they are illegal. Quoting ZIDERA in section 5 it says that Zimbabwe must not access any form of financial assistance. The sanctions are therefore targeting the nation,” said Netanyahu.
An active participant who identified himself as James said sanctions were there during the colonial era under then Prime Minister Ian Smith but Rhodesia was productive and had a vibrant economy so it is misplaced to argue that targeted sanctions are leading to Zimbabwe’s economic decline.
“We cannot monopolise the economic situation in Zimbabwe based on sanctions. We have to be diverse and adopt the multiple strategy approach towards the economic recovery of the country.
“Zimbabwe is suffering because of the leadership crisis and everyone knows that. We have corruption in the country. Despite the sanctions we are receiving money from the USAID so we cannot blame sanctions for the poverty in the country,” James said.