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Zimbabwe goes on anti-sanctions crusade with prayer, protests and a public holiday

22 October 2019 - 17:51 By LENIN NDEBELE
Zimbabwe is ramping up its anti-sanctions drive. File photo.
Zimbabwe is ramping up its anti-sanctions drive. File photo.
Image: 123RF / Natanael Alfredo Nemanita Ginting

Prayer, demonstrations and a public holiday are what Zimbabwe has resorted to, to urge the US and European Union to remove sanctions.

This is despite the US being clear that sanctions can only be removed through political and economic reforms.

In a recent interview titled In Conversation With Trevor featuring media owner Trevor Ncube, US ambassador Brian Nichols said, “the perception of the issues in Zimbabwe is driven by the actions of the government of Zimbabwe both in the run up to and in the wake of the elections in 2018.”

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen said the anti-sanctions drive was a mere  “political statement that they came out with recently.”

With continued harassment of the opposition, the suppression of human rights and corruption the West feels that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's establishment has not departed from the Mugabe era modus operandi.

But in response, the government has gone ahead with drumming up a side show that started on Monday with a prayer session attended by more than 300 church leaders at State House where the host, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa, said God would answer the anti-sanctions prayer.

“Our country is currently working to restore its place among other nations, so we should pray for the government and the church’s leadership so that they get wisdom from God when discharging their duties,” she said, urging all churches to pray for the removal of sanctions.

Friday October 25 has been declared a public holiday, “to allow people to attend the SADC-initiated regional day of solidarity against sanctions on Zimbabwe.” The march will start at 6am from Robert Mugabe Square to the National Sports Stadium where a series of speeches and events are lined up. Musicians linked to the establishment will then perform. Already, anti-sanctions jingles are on rotation in state radio stations.

The anti-sanctions march received backing from other SADC countries but none of them have confirmed they will stage demonstrations like Zimbabwe. Opposition political parties feel it’s a waste of state resources.