Zambia must use its alliances in the West to support the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and allow the country to develop without inhibitions, the former Zambian Provincial Minister for Lusaka Province and Provincial Minister for the Copperbelt Province, Mr Bowman Lusambo, has said. He made an impassioned plea to President Hakainde Hichilema, who has joined regional calls for sanctions on Zimbabwe to end, to leverage on his close relations with the West to urge them to end illegal measures on Zimbabwe. Speaking at a media briefing last Saturday, Mr Lusambo, said it was unhelpful for the West to keep sanctions on Zimbabwe as President Mnangagwa has done well in bringing the country back into the community of nations through his engagement and re-engagement efforts.
“We want to urge the President, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, his friends — to those same people, the Europeans and the Americans, they wine and dine together — to talk on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. The issue at hand is a very serious issue. When your neighbour’s house is on fire, even you, you are also affected,” said Mr Lusambo. He said there was no valid reason for the continuation of sanctions as the person that the West wanted to punish is deceased. “Cde (Robert) Gabriel Mugabe is a departed comrade. We want sanctions to be lifted on Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are our brothers and sisters. We are not happy to see what has been going on in Zimbabwe.” As Zimbabwe prepares to hold harmonised elections this year, Mr Lusambo said the people of Zimbabwe must make the right decision by voting for someone who stands for Africa.
“We want the people of Zimbabwe to make the right decision. “The people of Kenya, they defended Africa, and we want Zimbabwe to defend Africa and to defend the region,” Mr Lusambo said. Mr Lusambo said he had no problem with opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, but that he was accepting the support of the “wrong people” who wish ill on Africa. “He (Chamisa) is a good comrade, but he is being supported by wrong people, with wrong motives,” Mr Lusambo said. Zimbabwe’s opposition political parties, the MDC Alliance and CCC, have long been accused of being Western puppets being cushioned to effect regime change. Some Western governments have not made it a secret that they support the opposition with one Western embassy being in the habit of mimicking opposition propaganda on their official social media platforms.
The US has spent years denying the role of sanctions in undermining the Zimbabwean economy. However, in October last year, the US Department of State Sanctions Coordinator, James O’Brien, and Director of Sanctions Policy and Implementation, Jim Mullinax, admitted that American sanctions on Zimbabwe were indeed affecting investment into the country. “One of those reasons (why investors choose not to invest in Zimbabwe) is the risk that either newer sanctions may be introduced, or current sanctions are not clear,” O’Brien said during an online briefing. He admitted that “because of the duration of this (sanctions) programme” some would-be investors had decided to stay out of Zimbabwe. Under its latest measures, the US in 2022 imposed sanctions on a local business, Fossil Group, shortly after it invested in Lafarge Cement, in a move meant to cripple government infrastructure projects, which the two companies have participated in.