By Lovemore Chazingwa
Trade Fair, Bulawayo
Sanctions are a show of cowardice on the part of the instigator as they are not sure whether the victim is wrong or right, Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said at the official opening of this year’s historic ZITF yesterday.
The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) first opened its gates in 1960 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was Guest of Honour.
“If one is wrong leave them and they will fail on their own. You are not sure whether one is right or wrong. When you bring sanctions you’re not sure of yourself,” said the Elder Statesman to massive applause.
He made an impassioned appeal for the lifting of sanctions imposed by America, Britain and their allies on Zimbabwe at the turn of the century.
America has crafted a law, Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) to whip the local leadership into compliance with their conditionality.
The targeted sanctions have been renewed annually but popular sentiment is that they are hurting common people.
The learned Statesman pointed out the concept of peaceful competition where if there is disagreement parties can demonstrate diffences but still show their superiority working for their good.
He was quick to encourage Africa to work together for the good of its people and economies.
“Africa is divided. We do not work together closely. If one of us is under sanctions we should put in place counter- sanctions. In this case sanctions are one sided.
He also cited the tact of China which imposes counter-sanctions when one of them is put under such conditions.
“I don’t agree with the notion that Africa is too weak to work together.” The history and achievement of the Frontline States are a case in point. He narrated how the Frontline States achieved so much beginning as a tri- nation grouping, growing to embrace most southern Africa states.
The decorated President encouraged Zimbabweans to be steadfast for them to embrace development going forward.
Citing the example of his country, he said it has died and resurrected. He revealed that once upon a time Uganda went through a rough patch and you could not get basic commodities like salt, maize-meal and sugar in the shops. These would be smuggled or imported from neighbouring countries notably Kenya and Tanzania and from far afield.
He is refreshed by how his economy has resurrected and implied that the same resurrection can happen to Zimbabwe.
His Excellency (HE) Kaguta Museveni recommended close dialogue and co-ordination for there to be meaningful progress and make an impact in the global economy.
He took the opportunity to invite HE Emmerson Mnangagwa to Kampala to discuss ‘more’ in the not so distant future.
HE Museveni was Guest of Honour at the 60th edition of ZITF which is celebrating its diamond jubilee.
The President of the east African nation last officiated in that capacity 30 years ago in 1989.
Held in the main arena, the official opening event was attended by Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, Deputy Presidents Hon. Kembo Mohadi and Rtd Army Gen Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga and their spouses, Minister of Industry and Commerce Hon Mangaliso Ndhlovu, other Ministers, service chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, industry, civic organisations and the public.