By Dr Masimba Mavaza| THE United Nations (UN) will deploy a special rapporteur to Zimbabwe to probe the impact of sanctions on the country and determine if President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was not using them as a scapegoat to the prevailing economic crisis.
The UN special rapporteur Alena Douhan, from Belarus, will be in Zimbabwe from October 18 to 28 at the invitation of government. Her visit will include meeting the government officials, the opposition and members of civic society. She will again hear from general public and more specifically concentrate on how the law is being applied in Zimbabwe. The report she will write and her findings will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council at its 51st session to be held in September next year.
“She is currently seeking the views of all relevant stakeholders to inform the thematic and geographical focus of the visit and subsequent reporting,” read a statement by the office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner. “In order to gather first-hand information related to the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights in a specific country, enabling her to conduct her assessment and evaluation of such impacts, and thus to prepare relevant recommendations and guidelines on means to mitigate or eliminate these adverse impacts, the special rapporteur undertakes field visits.”
Zimbabwe has been under US sanctions since 2001 when the world super power, the United States, signed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act into law in response to the land redistribution program and in pursuit of regime change.
The sanctions have been renewed over the years since 2001 and in March 2021, the US renewed its sanctions regimes in respect of Zimbabwe after the MDC trio of Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti went to America to ask for more sanctions.
These sanctions have caused untold suffering of the children of Zimbabwe pushing our economy down. Despite the pleas by President Mnangagwa and the former President RG Mugabe the sanctions remained on our throat.
To add salt to the injury the European Union (EU) also imposed sanctions, which they described as targeted even though the target was the whole country.
Despite the serious sufferings caused by these Sanctions on Zimbabwe and the untold suffering it came with, in February this year, the EU renewed its sanctions on Zimbabwe, imposing an arms embargo and a targeted asset freeze against the Zimbabwe Defence Industries for one year until 20 February 2022.
The EU justified this evil deed by saying “in light of the “continued deterioration of the humanitarian, economic and social situation” in Zimbabwe, and “the continuing need to investigate the role of security force actors in human rights abuses”.
This was a lame excuse but it motivated The UK government to also slap an asset freeze and travel ban on four Zimbabwean senior security sector officials, who are said to be responsible for committing serious human rights violations and, as such, undermining the rule of law.”
The late former President Robert Mugabe, correctly stated that sanctions were hurting the ordinary people.
President Mnangagwa, when he assumed power, said that sanctions were derailing the country’s economic recovery and he has been engaging the West to review their sanctions regime. To this end Cde Mnangagwa has invited the UN to see the extent of the sanctions.
If it was my way the inspector should be booked at Nyamutamba Hotel in Chitungwiza so that she experiences the effects of the sanctions first hand.
Other officials and companies linked to the governing party are also on the sanctions list and this has affected those employed by these companies.
In March 2017, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 34/13 on human rights and unilateral coercive measures that stressed that unilateral coercive measures and legislation violated international law.
The resolutions also highlighted that in the long-term, the measures may result in social problems and raise humanitarian concerns in the States targeted.
But local opposition parties and observers who are sympathisers of the opposition parties have begged for more sanctions against Zimbabwe regardless of the impact on the common person. They argued that in Zimbabwe, sanctions were not behind the economic crisis.
The special rapporteur will meet various representatives of government before having private meetings with UN agencies in Zimbabwe, as well as international and regional organisations, international financial institutions, the national human rights institution, and representatives of the diplomatic community present in Harare.
It is this time surprisingly the opposition will start to exaggerate on things in Zimbabwe so that they can get the sympathy of those oppressing us. There will be a lot of stage managed issues which will border on the side of abuse in order to convince their handlers that Zimbabwe is not in a good state to have sanctions lifted. The importance of independent external monitoring of countries to prevent torture or ill-treatment from occurring is well established.
The principle that the inspection and monitoring of other countries can promote the protection of human rights and prevent torture and ill-treatment has become well established in international human rights law. While international human rights instruments make it clear that independent monitoring of is the gold standard when it comes to protecting rights, regional forms of inspection can also play important roles in fulfilling authorities’ human rights obligations.
Internal or governmental prison inspection can take many forms, including auditing and budgetary reviews, examinations of human resources issues, and investigations of compliance with protocols and policies.
Zimbabwe has started expressing concern that the opposition is exhibited an insufficient degree of political polarization. What a difference the new dispensation made. As we approach 2023s Election Day, the Zimbabwe political landscape has become a Grand Canyon uniting all political divides.
Despite a pervasive presence in politics, lying has played a role in formal models of elections, and the opposition have taken it a step further by lying to the international world in order to pile more sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The Western world has developed a model that allows opposition parties in the campaign stage to misrepresent their policy intentions if elected to office, and in which the willingness to lie varies across candidates. You will find that the opposition is more willing to lie and is favoured by those who advocate for a regime change. this advantage is limited by the electoral mechanism and to such an extent that more honest candidates win a significant fraction of elections.
Most notably, the possibility that some candidates lie more than others affects the behavior of all candidates, changing the nature of political campaigns in an empirically consistent manner. This effect also implies that misleading conclusions will be drawn if homogeneous candidate honesty is assumed.
The Zimbabwean situation is simply the word of the opposition against that of the people of Zimbabwe. And, depending where you have read or heard about the accusations and counter-accusations flying between the opposition and the rest of Zimbabwe you will realise that the opposition is being a trifle “economical with the truth”. The fact that most of what Western world see will have originated in either leaks from unnamed witnesses, or via the as yet unsubstantiated claims on MDC complaining machine will have only further muddied the waters.
But the biggest problem the West and their boys in Zimbabwean opposition have is that a growing number of people, whether inside or outside the Western bubble, are finding it increasingly difficult to take either side at their word.
They have both long been devotees of what can be called strategic lying”. This is a technique coined by the opposition in their campaign and played masterfully during many elections campaigns in which they tell a deliberate lie with the purpose of shifting the news agenda onto their preferred territory.
It doesn’t matter if their lie is easily rebutted. The ultimate goal of strategic lying is to have an impact on the salience of issues. Calling for a guard rail against these lies to come from within the West quickly goes from curious to bewildering, along with the second embedded presumption that politics and compromise are a natural pairing rather than a contradiction in terms.
We must always remember that mud sticks visibly on clean clothes. This does not make mud part of the clean surface. Striking quick and hard is one of the key components of the strategic lie playbook, as the sanctions advocates demonstrated and could also be seen during the 2018 general election.
Clearly, strategic lying raises a number of major ethical issues, but there is also an important practical one.
The quality of our democracy depends on the quality of the political debate within the public sphere. New campaigning techniques of sanction begging represent a real threat to both the debate and our democracy and something needs to be done urgently to address this problem.
Each time something is to take place in the international space the opposition starts lying with a straight face. One wonders why was it easy for tendai Biti to skip court towards the United Nations General Assembly. It was all strategical. He was literally begging for a warrant of arrest so that they can tell the UN that they are being tormented for being the opposition. This explains why The three MDC infamous laddies of J Mamombe C Chimbiru and another absconded court few days before the UN Assembly. It was to portray Zimbabwe as an authoritarian nation.
It is more curious that social media is awash with the video of a bus alleged to have had a tear gas canister thrown in the bus full of passengers. This video does not show a single police officer in the vicinity.
If the tear smoke was thrown in by an officer surely this officer was way out of line.
If thorough investigations are done you will realise that this officer could have been a member of the opposition bent on soiling the name of our police force.
The opposition is so fond of lying such that there is no difference between a liar and an MDC official. They naturally lie and have no shame for it.
If you continue looking at the space you will see a sharp increase in the cases of abuse of power. The reason is simply the MDC wants to have evidence to give to their handlers and have enough evidence to maintain sanctions.
For us to try and rebut the lies being peddled in the different forums it will look like we have something to hide.
It is evil that we have people who are in our country but seriously digging a hole to mess the country.
Chamisa and Biti must remember that if you drill a hole in a boat you the will sink with you in it. Calling for sanctions does not give votes. It simply makes you an enemy of the people.
Zimbabwe has nothing to hide and looks forward for the UN representative to come to Zimbabwe. We pray she will be able to see the fiction from reality.
Zimbabwe is the only country we can call ours in the whole world.