top of page
  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


Old NRZ trains in Zimbabwe that don’t have parts from General Electric
Old NRZ trains in Zimbabwe that don’t have parts from General Electric

In numerous African countries subjected to sanctions, a pervasive issue arises as sanctioned nations face obstruction in obtaining parts, services and maintenance for their machines from the manufacturers.

As an illustration, in Zimbabwe, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and several electric power stations remain non-operational because General Electric is withholding parts, services and maintenance from the Zimbabwean government and affiliated companies, constituting a violation of purchase agreements.

The same is happening with Boeing denying air Zimbabwe similar after sales services, hence the airliner is out of business mainly due to sanctions. We have also witnessed the same with western agricultural machinery and now it’s time for us to address the issue.

When considering that these companies often hold patents prohibiting third-party reverse engineering of their parts without authorization, a critical question emerges: Why should companies be permitted to inflict punitive measures upon their customers [without just causes] through the implementation of illegal sanctions, thereby denying those who purchase their machines access to parts, services, maintenance and full-lifetime use of machinery?

Countries grappling with such sanctions should task their legal representatives with determining whether full-life  after-sale services and parts provision are not integral elements to the purchase agreements of high-value machines and items.

Secondly, legal experts should scrutinize the #ProducerResponsibilityRegulations stemming from global climate agreements, which mandate manufacturers to uphold the maintenance of their machines to limit premature replacement that results the over exploitation of new resources, facilitate collection and recycling of old machines to avert dumping and environmental pollution.

It is evident that companies resorting to implementing illegal sanctions, rendering their clients' machines obsolete and unproductive before their lifecycle completion, breach tacit purchase and service agreements and contravene environmental protection laws.

This deprivation of the customer's of their full lifetime use of the machine, coupled with the denial of replacement parts, incurs unjust replacement costs, exacerbates global pollution and resource wastage by preventing a machine from realizing its full-lifetime use.

African countries must therefore leverage agreements like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and environmental protection laws, to establish laws mandating lifetime maintenance and after-sales service agreements with manufacturers of all high-capital machinery imported into Africa.

This ensures that manufacturers do not merely sell machines to African buyers but they also commit to lifetime maintenance, preventing practices that burden African countries, diminish productivity and deindustrialize Africa by denying it machine maintenance for equipment that they have bought from a brand owner. These laws must also enable companies denied parts to pursue reparations and damages from manufacturers who deny them parts.

Even currently, African companies and governments that are being denied parts for machines by illegal sanctions, to obstruct productivity, need to be innovative and proactive to approach local courts, trade courts, international courts, environmental bodies and arbitrators to compel manufacturers to provide parts, servicing, maintenance and reparations for loss of production due to prematurely obsolescent machines owing to the irregular implementation of illegal sanctions.

There is a need for increased ingenuity in Africa to enforce consumer rights, free trade agreements, international law and uphold purchase and maintenance agreements effectively.

Recent Posts

See All