Thursday, 15 April 2010
Let’s stop intellectualising the Sanctions issue and fight this evil
I listened to a program recently whereby some Zimbabweans who have failed or refused to buy into the idea of inclusivity as represented by the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe, were making idiotic suggestions on the subject of the lifting of sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe as represented by the economic embargo on Zimbabwean companies and government officials by the European Union and the Americans through the Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act. (ZIDERA)
All major political parties on the Zimbabwe political landscape have signed up to have this imperialistic nonsense removed, yet some idiotic Zimbabweans who have other agendas that do not include the reconstruction of Zimbabwe are suggesting that the Americans and the European union should lift the economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and substitute them with International arrest warrants targeted at ZANU PF officials as a way of arming twisting them to concede to MDC –T demands. The same characters who are calling for this impossible scenario have also gone to the extent of sighting the arrest of Augusto Pinochet in London under the Universal Jurisdiction principle as the modus operandi to which they base their unilateral dreams.
Every sane Zimbabwean should now be calling for the repeal of all sanctions imposed on the country as the last ten years have proved that their only purpose has been to kill millions of Zimbabweans as the country struggles to import basic necessities like chemicals for water purification, HIV and AIDS medication and supplementary foodstuff for the rural folk. It was mind boggling to listen to Zimbabwean nationals proposing that the west issue international arrest warrants on elected government officials.
To demonstrate the shallowness and stupidity of some of these foolish and desperate ideas, those discussing them never bothered to try and understand, let alone even consider the practicality or possibility of their ideas. Zimbabwe is a sovereign country that stands guided by international norms and laws like any other country. It is not a banana republic as some out there may imagine. It is not possible for any country to suddenly wake on any one day and issue international arrest warrants on government officials of another country without following the jus cogens under international law.
International arrest warrants can only be issued by internationally recognised legal institutions like the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a defined international violation. And the ICC can only issue valid warrants on individuals who belong to member countries. Zimbabwe has not ratified the Rome Statute hence the ICC has no jurisdiction over Zimbabwean public officials whatsoever (ZANU, MDC or otherwise) . Another institution that has the power to issue such warrants is the United Nations Security Council. This will all know requires the consent of all the five permanent members of the Security Council. That is a process on its own.
The purported arrest of Augusto Pinochet following his arrival in London was fraught with discrepancies under international law as the basis is not a developed norm. (That of Universal jurisdiction) It relies heavily on domestic norms vis a vis international legal principals. It is an under developed international principal hence practically of no use. That explains why then Jack Straw the then Justice Secretary intervened.
As Zimbabweans we need to be speaking positively about our country. We need to be speaking out against International embargos that restrict trade and the importation of basic commodities that make our country function. The reality on the ground is that Zimbabwe as a result of the sanctions can not import medicine for our brothers and sisters. The Zimbabwe government can not import spares for motor vehicles used by the ambulances, police and fire services.
Motor vehicles accidents are happening on a daily basis because the machinery that was used to fix the roads are grounded, large numbers of people are dying needlessly as a result. There are no ambulances to ferry the injured to hospital. If by some fluke one makes it to hospital there is no medicine to talk about. The police can not respond to crime because they have no vehicles as they are grounded as they can not import spares for the large number of Land rover defenders that are of British origin.
If our leaders on all sides of the political divide have realised that Zimbabwe will not move forward if we are not united, it then boggles the mind to think why Zimbabweans living abroad find it prudent to intellectualise the issue of sanctions, whilst large numbers of their kith and kin continue to die back home. Our role in the Diaspora is to educate those that manufactured these sanctions as to what the real impact of the embargo has been.
Lloyd Msipa is a Lawyer based in the United Kingdom and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org