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In the early 2000s, Britain and the U.S. imposed sanctions on this African country over differences with Zimbabwe on its land reform program.
Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe over two decades ago by the West is a tool of neo-colonialism and a form of economic warfare, said Rutendo Matinyarare, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement (ZASM).
"The sanctions come from the same toolbox of the coercion that was used to enslave Africans and the coercion that was used to colonize Africans," he pointed out, recalling that Britain and the U.S. imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 and 2003 respectively over differences with Zimbabwe on its land reform program.
While the EU has eased its sanctions over the years, the United States still maintains the sanctions. They argue that the sanctions are targeted at a few individuals. But their impact is being felt throughout the whole economy, with ordinary citizens bearing the brunt.
"Sanctions were imposed to slow down Zimbabwe's human development, to slow down Zimbabwe's economy so that indigenization would not be successful and land reform would also be a failure," Matinyarare said.
"Economic sanctions are a form of warfare that is prohibited in wartime by the Geneva Convention, and also prohibited in peacetime by a number of resolutions, conventions and international legal customs," he added.
Many say Western sanctions on Zimbabwe violate international law, yet 21 years later they remain. Zimbabwe is fighting back & taking sanction implementers to court.
“We need to hold them accountable to the same rules they created.” -@matinyarare
Furthermore, sanctions are used to coerce resource-rich nations like Zimbabwe to give control of their economies and resources back to former colonial powers thereby making Africa dependent.
"Sanctions are there to cripple our economy, cripple access to capital, cripple technology exchange, cripple technology transfer and cripple our ability to rise up the learning curve and to learn to produce our own industrial products and to get savings that will start to develop us into developing nations that will become developed nations tomorrow," Matinyarare said.
Earlier this year, ZASM sued the U.S. government and South African financial institutions at the Gauteng High Court in South Africa over the sanctions.
The implementation of extraterritorial sanctions and over-compliance by South African banks and international banks domiciled in South Africa has seen Zimbabweans being deprived of banking services and their human rights without trial and without court orders.