Pillay is wrong about sanctions: Vigil

Vigil supporters were dismayed by the presumptuous conclusion of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay that sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies should be lifted. She asserts that sanctions have worsened Zimbabwe’s economic problems with ‘quite serious ramifications’ for the poorest and most vulnerable.

She cites no evidence for this, and the EU and the United States and others who have imposed sanctions argue otherwise. Pillay also says ‘There seems little doubt that the existence of the sanctions has, at the very least, acted as a serious disincentive to overseas banks and investors. It is also likely that the stigma of sanctions has limited certain imports and exports’.

‘Little doubt’? As far as we can see there is ‘little doubt’ that Mugabe’s populist economic policies such as indigenisation are the main cause of the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe, together with rampant corruption and incompetence and the dishonouring of debts.

We wonder why Pillay, a South African, hasn’t devoted as much attention to the reasons why the sanctions were imposed in the first place and challenged Mugabe on why he has refused to implement the Global Political Agreement signed nearly four years ago. She could also have asked him where the diamond money is going and why, after 12 years of land reform, Zimbabwe imports 80% of its food.

To us these are the real questions. And we doubt whether lifting sanctions will make any difference whatsoever. On the contrary, unless there is more pressure on Zanu (PF) there will be no free and fair elections.

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