It’s been labelled everything from a pariah state to a basket case, and its President a monster. But Southern African heads of state have called on the international community to end sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“Considering the positive evolution of the situation, considering the progress that has been made, we believe it is now high time that the sanctions are lifted,” Congolese President Jospeh Kabila said. Previously, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has claimed that Western sanctions have hurt Zimbabwe’s economy and accuses Washington and Brussels of maintaining the punitive measures in a bid to force him out of power. And South African president Jacob Zuma has said sanctions need to be removed because they’re holding back economic development.
This blogger asks: “How do you choke Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe when his strongest rationale for staying in power is to save his country from the hands of countries who would (and do) impose sanctions? Perhaps it’s no wonder that such countries’ leaders not only survive sanctions, but use them to justify bad behavior.
But Human Rights Watch says it’s too early to remove sanctions because “the levers of power are still very much in the hands of the oppressors”.
What do you think? Is it time to end sanctions? Or with the raft of problems that Zimbabwe still faces, is it too early to bring Zimbabwe in from the cold?