BY MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe

Chimanimani villagers also joined the march against the “illegal” US sanctions.

THERE is no end in sight to the deadlock between Zimbabwe and the United States in putting an end to the painful sanctions that have mostly hurt the poor in the Southern African country.

While calls have been intensifying on the US the restrictions, the American government maintains the sanctions have not been imposed on Zimbabwe but the ruling elite.

On Monday, there were massive protests in Zimbabwe and across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc as citizens voiced concern on the impact of the sanctions that are blamed for crippling Zimbabwe’s economy.

An estimated US$48 billion in investment has been lost since the country got slapped with the economic embargoes.

SADC commemorates October 25 as Anti-Sanctions day, triggered by the punishments imposed on members state, Zimbabwe, at the turn of the millennium.

Amid the protests, the US embassy in Harare tweeted: “The Zimbabwe Sanctions program only targets those who engage in corruption, violate human rights, and undermine democratic processes. They are not intended to be permanent. We use sanctions to encourage sanctioned individuals to cease their malign activities.”

It added: “Sanctions do not hamstring Zimbabwe’s economic prospects. Corruption, economic mismanagement, undermining democratic institutions, and violating human rights damage Zimbabwe’s international reputation.”

This triggered angry responses.

Harare small business owner, Jacob Maunganidze, accused the US of double standards.

He argued Washington was the chief human rights violator and an aggressor with impunity.

“The US is the least nation in this world to lecture or speak about violations of human rights, rule of law and democracy,” Maunganidze disputed.

He noted the protests in the SADC coincided with the US targeting the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigating potential war crimes committed in Afghanistan by US soldiers. “Who is then the devil, Harare or Washington?” queried Maunganidze.

The US exited Afghanistan recently after a two-decade occupation.

Shumba Mutasa also condemned the sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“Sanctions are an attack on sovereignty. Corruption or not is for the citizens of Zimbabwe to fix, not outsiders,” he argued.

Mutasa argued Zimbabwe did not interfere in US domestic affairs despite its shameful domestic killings of black people by state police (whites).

“So why do you (America) feel you must participate in ours?” he asked rhetorically.

One TwinSisters said: “Your narrative on Zimbabwean sanctions is tinctured with falsehoods. The truth of the matter is sanctions are targeted at vital state enterprises which are key to the economic development of the country.”

Rutendo Matinyarare argued the sanctions on Zimbabwe impacted on citizens and violated human rights.

“In fact, because these sanctions deprive Zimbabweans of water, food, healthcare, medicine and development, they are persecution thus crimes against humanity,” she stated.

Nicole Hondo concurred.

“The illegal sanctions you put on Zimbabwe are not targeted. They hurt the whole population,” Hondo insisted.

The US and some Western nations imposed sanctions over alleged human rights abuses and electoral fraud by Zimbabwe, then under Robert Mugabe, now late.

Critics however believe the restrictions were retaliation to the land reform programmes that sought to correct colonial land imbalance resulting in white farmers losing lands to the state. – CAJ News