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Sanctions Are A Gift To Political Hardliners In Zanu-PF: Trevor Ncube

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MEDIA magnate Trevor Ncube, who is one of the members of President Mnangagwa’s Presidential Advisory Council, has said the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and its allies will only serve as a gift to the hardliners in the ruling party.

Ncube said sanctions will not serve the intended purpose, as has happened over the past two decades they have been in place, but will only make ZANU-PF even harder for its political opponents.

Ncube was quoting US economist Professor Steve Hanke who while addressing the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., this week said: “Sanctions don’t work; sanctions are for losers. The history of economic and financial sanctions is one failure after another, the production of all kinds of negative, unintended consequences.”

Organized by the Washington-based think-tank Cato Institute, on Monday, panelists of the discussion, titled ‘Zimbabwe: Africa’s Shame and Opportunity’, challenged the United States and members of the international community such as the European Union, all of which recently extended sanctions on Zimbabwe, citing lack of reforms under the newly-elected government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to drop them.

“Foreign aid is not going to rescue Zimbabwe. The sanctions agrravate the situation in Zimbabwe.

“Sanctions in fact are an excuse; they entrench the bad guys in Zimbabwe, and they’re all going to say it’s the outsiders who are causing these problems we’re having.”

Hanke, a strong critic of the Zimbabwe government, is an applied economist at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as a respected economist globally.

Watch the speech on sanctions by Hanke below:

Zimbabwe has been calling for the removal of what it terms illegal sanctions, since their imposition almost two decades ago, and have blamed them for the country’s economic demise.

In particular, the government of Zimbabwe has chided the U.S. over the Zimbabwe Economic and Recovery Act of 2001 (ZIDERA), which despite noting some improvements in Zimbabwe, was recently extended by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Panelist and RTHK Washington Correspondent, Barry Wood, who was recently in Zimbabwe, sided with critics of the sanctions who argue the sanctions hurt the ordinary citizens, and not the intended target of high level officials, which include Mnangagwa and his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

“Certainly ZIDERA which is still in the books and has been extended by President Trump – do they hurt the poor more than the ruling elite? There is a strong case that the sanctions do hurt the poor more than they hurt the ruling elite, which through corruption gets around the sanctions,” said Wood.

Echoing that point was fellow panelist and longtime critic of the Zimbabwe’s government, Professor Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University, who, while maintaining that the government and its ruling party officials, operate “like an organized criminal syndicate or crime syndicate,” submitted that the sanctions have failed to make the government accountable.

“Sanctions should be dropped immediately. Sanctions don’t work,” argued Hanke, adding that “the history of economic and financial sanctions is one failure after another, the production of all kinds of negative, unintended consequences,” said Hanke

Hanke advised the U.S. and the international community to adopt a different strategy that excludes sanctions and foreign aid, which he said, also doesn’t help.

“So step one, unilaterally the US and the international community, to the extent the international communities involved should drop sanctions, and encourage, of course, the adoption of the ‘Singapore Strategy’ and stop talking about foreign aid. Foreign aid is not going to rescue Zimbabwe,” said Hanke.

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