Zimbabwe regarded as high risk due to global panic caused by regime’s ‘economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’ lies!

The more I write about this two-decade long issue of smart or targeted sanctions on a handful of individuals and entities in Zimbabwe, the more I clearly see how the lies spewed by the government have created unwarranted panic around the globe, that has further damaged our economy.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

In fact, all the ‘examples’ of what the political elite disingenuously refer to as ‘economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’ are not technically the result of the travel bans, assets freezes and an arms embargo on not more than 83 persons and 37 companies – but, a direct consequence of the global panic created through these shameful untruths.

When a country is perceived as high risk by potential investors and business partners – even resulting in our local banks losing valuable correspondent relationships, thereby making it extremely cumbersome to trade internationally – this can only be attributable to the misinformation and misconceptions spread by Zimbabwe authorities themselves.

The main reason correspondent banks have either pulled out, or instituted stricter and sterner ‘know your customer’ and verification procedures – is out of an irrational fear of trading with the ‘wrong entities’ in the country, thereby falling foul to any punitive measures by those who imposed the targeted sanctions.

Yet, this need not be the case at all had the Harare administration told the truth to the world that these restrictions only affected a handful of individuals and entities – and, even going as far as releasing the list of those on ZIDERA (by the US), and the remaining five by the UK.

This would have gone a very long way in allaying, or even nipping in the bud, all this apprehension and restlessness by international business partners – as they fully understood the true nature of the risk, or lack of, associated with the country.

The country’s central bank reports that Zimbabwe has lost 102 correspondent banking relationships over the past decade.

Why?

Largely on account of misconceptions spread by Zimbabwe authorities themselves.

Instead, those in power have chosen to paint the entire country as being high risk – with their ‘sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’ tall tale – thereby, instilling fear in anyone and everyone who may want to deal with Zimbabwean companies and persons, even when they are not on the list.

It does not help matters when this yarn is regurgitated at every corner by some misguided African heads of states – who have unashamedly elected to parrot this tired and washed out drivel whenever they have been presented with the opportunity.

It is no different to someone knowing fully well that there are only a few isolated reported cases of, say, measles in the country – yet, goes around the world screaming that the entire population had been infected and dying.

Would anyone be particularly shocked if no one was too eager to visit Zimbabwe – in utter terror of also being infected and facing a painful death?

Yet, those who have no qualms, but actually seem to relish, proclaiming that the country was under economic sanctions pretend perturbed when foreign investors develop cold feet pumping their monies into the country, or engaging in any other business with us.

We even listened in utter disbelief as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Impact of Sanctions Alena Douhan carried on about ‘over-compliance’ and the ‘unintentional consequences’ of these restrictive measures – as international players were wary about coming to Zimbabwe, yet these sanctions would not harm them.

Why?

Why would any foreign person be afraid of falling foul to sanctions that do not affect 15 million Zimbabweans?

The answer is simple!

The warped and grossly twisted narrative by the political elite in Zimbabwe, with the complicity of their regional friends, is what has caused all this panic.

Stop telling the lies, and the ‘over-compliance and unintentional consequences’ will die a natural death.

Is it, then, not silly that those who have eventually invested in the country, or dealt with the majority of Zimbabweans, have never been affected by these supposed sanctions?

Have we not witnessed American companies as John Deere even entering into agricultural mechanization deals with the government of Zimbabwe?

How have they been affected by these sanctions?

The sooner the world knows that these are restrictions on only an insignificant and inconsequential part of the country, the sooner confidence will be restored in our trading and economic system.

In fact, people as myself – who repeatedly try to demystify and dispel the lies and deceptions – are true patriots, who are helping restore international confidence in our economy.

We need to control what we have in our hands – and, we can certainly decide to deliberately allay all this apprehension by international investors and business partners.

Of course, such actions would not be in the interest of the ruling elite in Zimbabwe – as making everyone believe that these measures were imposed on the entire nation, fits in perfectly with their objectives of deflecting blame for their ruination of a once vibrant economy.

Instead of telling the world the true story of exactly what these sanctions are, and who is affected – thereby, restoring confidence in brand Zimbabwe, enhancing ease of doing business internationally, and attracting more foreign investment – those in power are more concerned about winning elections and staying in power, through their lies.

It is not difficult at all correcting this distorted perception on Zimbabwe – but, it needs concerted political will – which is unfortunately not available.

Our leaders would rather see the nation suffer than risk losing power.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist,writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]

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