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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


Zimbabweans emergency helicopters from Russia.
New Zimbabwean emergency helicopters.

People are questioning why the Zimbabwean government purchased medical helicopters before upgrading hospitals. Firstly, Zimbabwean hospitals that treat HIV, TB, COVID and other diseases better than the richest African country, are good enough to be served by these helicopters.

It is essential to remember that Zimbabwe is the only African country to be removed from the list of countries most vulnerable to TB in the last ten years, while all BRICS countries, most sub-Saharan African countries and many Asian countries remain on the list.

This is a testament to the high levels of medical intervention that the Zimbabwean healthcare system deployed to reduce TB infections in Zimbabwe, more effectively than any other African or Asian country, despite twenty years of sanctions.

Secondly, recently, two out of four South African banks - ABSA and Standard Bank who are cited in ZASM's court case in South Africa- loaned the Zimbabwean government US$193 million to build new hospitals and clinics, at a time when the country has just set up pharmaceutical production facilities.

This implies that Zimbabwe already has good hospitals that will soon be complemented by locally produced medicines, alongside more world-class hospitals that the air ambulances and road ambulances received from India and other countries over the years.

The air ambulances will reinforce the country's major healthcare upgrade plan that is currently underway and is partially being supported by the #ZASMvsUSAandSABanks anti-sanctions case in South Africa, which has resulted in the release of the US$193 million from South African banks that had not lent money to the Zimbabwean government since U.S. executive order sanctions prohibited banks from lending U.S. dollars (in 2008) to that government or face penalties.

In a rare statement after the approval of these loans, an executive of the South African Export Credit Insurance Corporation said that these loans marked the reintroduction of Zimbabwe into the global financial system.

That statement is a drastic shift from the letters the same South African banks wrote to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2019, informing them that they would no longer be giving that bank U.S. notes from 2020, out of fear of OFAC penalties. However, this time (two and a half years later), the same banks are lending U.S. dollars to the Zimbabwean government, without fear of penalities.

It is also intriguing to note that this rare statement comes after the banks approved the loans in the same month as the U.S. government responded to ZASM's court papers in the Gauteng high court, a whole thirteen months after the case was filed.

It appears that South African banks are now lending U.S. dollars to the Zimbabwean government after ZASM began its case against the U.S. government and South African domicile banks, on the back of years of punishing and discriminating against Zimbabweans without trial, to enforce illegal U.S. sanctions.

And the reason for the change, is they don't want to be found on the wrong side of human rights law, international law and the constitution of South Africa, so they are now complying with the rule of law.

The loans also coincide with Steward Bank having celebrated the opening of a U.S. dollar corresponding bank relationship with FNB, last year on November 23, 2022, after almost twenty-two years of U.S. dollar and Euro corresponding bank relationship cancellations in Zimbabwe.

It is clear that the U.S. government and financial institutions are quickly relaxing sanctions on Zimbabwe ever since ZASM began litigation against these illegal sanctions.

The above story shows the importance of a nation having pressure groups that can depoliticize crimes against humanity, by turning them into multilateral and legal battles, to bring lawbreakers and human rights violators in line.

By Rutendo Matinyarare, Chairman of ZASM and founder of Frontline Strat Marketing Consultancy.