Monday, 21 March 2011Thousands of Zimbabweans have called on the United States and Europe to scrap the economic sanctions on the country, marking the beginning of an aggressive fight against the embargo.
Among those who signed the anti-sanctions petition were members of the church, vendors, businesspeople, civil servants, traditional leaders, youths, farmers, non-governmental organisation representatives and professionals.
In an interview last night, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Cde Webster Shamu said the exercise would devolve to district level.
He said the petition would be submitted to President Mugabe for onward transmission to Sadc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African Union and the United Nations.
“The petition will alert the world to the fact that Zimbabweans have spoken against the sanctions, that they are diabolic, unjustified and are affecting their economy,” he said.
In Masvingo, more than 15 000 people attended the launch at Mucheke Stadium where prominent pharmacist Mr Joseph Maluleke, who represented industry, berated the MDC-T for inviting the sanctions. In Mashonaland Central, thousands also thronged Chipadze Stadium in Bindura to lend their weight behind the anti-sanctions fight.
Launching the campaign, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Dr Stan Mudenge said the West introduced the measures to push Zanu-PF out of power and replace it with its preferred political outfit.
“Zanu-PF would have to be comatose to dream of having far-reaching reforms with sanctions in place. The Americans must know this and not under-estimate the resolve of Zimbabweans.”
The Midlands saw Zimbabweans from all walks of life converge on the Civic Centre in Gweru for yesterday’s launch. Those in attendance travelled from Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Gokwe, Zhombe, Shurugwi, Silobela, Chirumanzu, Chiwundura and Lower Gweru, among other areas.
Addressing the gathering, Zanu-PF Women’s League secretary for women’s affairs Cde Oppah Muchinguri urged Zimbabweans to remain united in fighting the illegal sanctions. In Bulawayo, residents thronged
Stanley Square in Makokoba in support of the campaign. Bulawayo United Residents’ Association chairman Mr Winos Dube said residents fully supported the campaign. In Matabeleland North, Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said Zimbabwe was in an economic war against the West. In Manicaland, more than 3 000 people from all walks of life turned up in Mutare to join the rest of the country in calling for the lifting of the sanctions.
In Harare, Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said the campaign was apolitical as sanctions affected every Zimbabwean.