By Chikondi Chimala
Southern African Development Community (SADC) ambassadors accredited to Malawi Friday called for the lifting of crippling sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe since 2001.
Addressing the local press at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Lilongwe, envoys from Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, asked the European Union (EU) and United States of America (USA) to lift the sanctions.
They said the sanctions are hurting local Zimbabweans.
Reading a statement on behalf of the envoys, Tanzania High Commissioner to Malawi who is also the chair of the ambassadors from SADC, Benedicto Martin Mashiba, said the sanctions ‘have deterred the progress of Zimbabwe and its people since the turn of the 21st century.
He said the sanctions have resulted in a devastating socio-economic aftermath that has long ravaged the nation to a wounded state of regression due to the stagnation of its economy.
Mashiba said economic sanctions have resulted in the loss of over USD $42 billion (over K30 trillion) in revenue over the past 18 years.
“We ‘the SADC member States’ come together today in support of our common goal and plight that reflects the theme on the industrialization agenda of this year’s SADC Summit which entails the emancipation of the Republic of Zimbabwe from the sanctions imposed by the EU and USA,” he said.
In an interview, acting High Commissioner for Zimbabwe to Malawi Mfaro Mviyo Charambira, said ordinary Zimbabweans and all SADC member states were feeling the pinch of the sanctions hence the need to lift them.
SADC says the USA and EU had imposed the sanctions as well as asset freeze and issued a travel ban on targeted entities and individuals.
This means US and EU nationals cannot do business with state-owned enterprises, and ruling Zanu PF-owned companies.