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  • Writer's pictureRutendo Matinyarare

Zimbabwe Needs A State Of Emergency Against Sanctions Part 2.

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

For centuries economic blockades have been used to choke nations from trade, suppliers, their crops and water sources, to force them to give in to the demands of foreign powers.
These blockades came in the form of city sieges, naval blockades and even currency sabotage, which would sometimes last for months until a city fell to hunger, internal uprising, it vanquished the enemy or was rescued by allies.

In today’s terms, sieges and blockades come in the form of embargoes, sanctions and sabotage, although naval blockades still occur. A case in point being Zimbabwe, which has found itself under 18yrs of economic embargoes and sabotage designed to destroy the lives of Zimbabweans to coerce them to rise up and overthrow the government.

How Do We Manage The Threat?

It’s not a secret that Zimbabwe does not have the military capacity to face off against the United States to pressure it to remove this economic blockade.

However, it has the option of rallying the regional block, other African nations and global allies to stand with it in lobbying for the removal of these sanctions.

The motivation being sanctions are weapons used by the US government to destroy human lives, destabilize and subjugate other nations to achieve its national interests. Something it’s likely to continue doing in future against any nations that refuse to bow to US interests.

It is therefore important that nations begin to come together in numbers to resist US hegemony by sanctions. Otherwise failure to offer resistance to this bullying leaves isolated nations vulnerable to US unilateralism.

Lessons must be drawn from Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, where regime change sanctions were imposed on them, citizens were mobilized to revolt and consent was manufactured around “human rights violations”, making way for the US and her western allies to intervene through military humanitarianism.

The consequence has been the political destabilization of these countries and their entire regions. Meanwhile the US has taken control of their oil resources and imposed puppet governments. The same is currently at play in Zimbabwe and it is likely to succeed unless nations act as a block to prevent it.

It’s critical for the Zimbabwean government to get African leaders to understand that a bad precedence was established when sanctions were allowed to cause the civil war that brought down the Libyan government and laid the country to waste. Now the same conspiracy is threatening another major Pan African geopolitical actor [Zimbabwe] unless African countries close ranks and put a stop to US hegemony in Africa.

State Of Emergency

Before we get paralyzed by analysis, let us proceed to charting a course of action.

The first step our President must take is declaring a State of Emergency on all imminent internal and external threats on Zimbabwe in relation to these sanctions. Such a move is 18yrs overdue, so it should be considered immediately without delay.
US sanctions on Zimbabwe are war and defense measures according to the US International Emergency Economic Powers and National Emergency Acts. Therefore these sanctions are warfare which threatens the economic interests and national security of our country.

As it stands, the sanctions have collapsed the Zimbabwean economy; healthcare, social welfare, education systems and infrastructure. Resulting in a mounting humanitarian crisis and social divisions that are now fueling civil unrest in the country.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that western NGOs have been sponsoring protests, which leaves the door open for the US government to take advantage of the unrest to use its forward positions in Botswana and Harare embassy assets to escalate the situation as they have done in other countries.

As outlined in our constitution and national emergency powers, the President of the republic has the mandate to call for a national emergency on any events or threats [internal or external] that could affect the peace and security of the nation. These sanctions and their consequences constitute real and present threats upon the nation and they must be addressed concomitantly.

Why A National Emergency

Once a national emergency is declared, it enables the sanctions and related effects to be made a national issue. Raising an opportunity for them to be assessed, profiled, categorized and risks prioritized in a process that enjoins the president to act and allocate adequate resources to address the national emergency.

No longer will sanctions be addressed in the shadows or with the level of non-commitment and divisions we have seen over the past 18yrs, but, now they can be tackled openly with all the nation’s resources dedicated to fighting them.

More importantly, the nation can begin to deal with those [nationals and foreigners] who support and sponsor sanctions, together with those who incite unrest or other types of sabotage as national security threats.

Oath To The Nation

Once a state of emergency has been called, the President must inform Parliament that the nation is at war against sanctions and remind all law makers [parliamentarians] and members of state of the oath they took for the nation.
This serves to remind all members of the legislature and state that they took an oath to serve the nation [and no other nation] and in times of an emergency and war, support for anything else other than the nation would be tantamount to breach of oath and commission of treason.


A central component in this [state of emergency] process will be communication and an integrated communication plan to organize, coordinate and manage the nation’s engagement in fighting these sanctions.

The communication plan must have an internal and external stakeholder thrust that seeks to connect and engage inter-governmental departments, local citizens, law makers, private enterprise, African & global partner nations and sponsors of the sanctions.

Analysis Reporting

To respond adequately to these sanctions there is need for a detailed assessment of the sanctions, their mechanisms, impact, risks and means by which they could be mitigated.

Such a document must be made public to educate the nation on the existence of what they consider as non-existent sanctions. This will then guide the government in formulating strategies on how to manage the impact, while seeking ways to end the sanctions.

Economic Warfare Policy

Equipped with a communication plan and analysis, the president and parliament can begin to develop and workshop a long overdue National Policy on sanctions to address, mitigate and manage the impact of this economic war. Such a policy should include:

Public And Stakeholder Engagement

The President and government must direct attention to engaging the nation by creating awareness, educating, receiving feedback and bringing attention to these unilateral war sanctions and their impact on human lives and rights in Zimbabwe.

Such engagement must be targeted to government departments, law makers, citizens, civil society groups, non-governmental organizations and business community in Zimbabwe. Of great importance are regional governments, African heads of states and other global leaders.

It is critical that government brings the nation and victims of the sanctions into its confidence because its failure to demystify these sanctions over the past 18yrs has resulted in the Americans weaponizing citizen emotions to turn them against government.

This has now raised the risk of the nation descending into civil unrest similar to what we saw in the Arab Spring, Iraq and Libya.

By not bringing Zimbabweans into its confidence government missed an opportunity to rally and unite the nation and continent against this economic siege by America.

For maximum impact communication partners and ambassadors must be sought in the mainstream, social and alternative media to spread the message about Zimbabwean sanctions on the back drop of growing US hegemony on the African continent. As this threatens the SADC region and African stability more than China upon who our attention has been deflected by western media.

Lobbying Partners

The fact that China and Russia are currently under US sanctions at a time South Africa is also being threatened with sanctions if it undertakes land reform. Offers a unique window for the Zimbabwean government to table this issue in SADC, AU and BRICS to establish common cause with nations that have also been targeted by US unilateralism.

With the head of the AU: Paul Kagame currently grappling with the possibility of US sanctions on Rwanda for banning US second hand clothes. Combine with a number of other African countries being under similar US sanctions and the growing US military presence on the African continent. It’s time African nations reassessed their outlook on the United States.

China should be lobbied to use her influence on the continent to lead the discussion on African countries considering imposing continental sanctions on the United States and her western allies if they continue with their neo-colonial aggression.

China assisted a number of African countries in achieving political independence. However, political independence did not deliver total independence, hence, the time has come for African countries to unite and seek assistance from China to break the final leg of colonialism: economic neo-colonialism that is being championed by the United States and France in Africa.

Proactive Mitigation

A state of emergency implies that the nation is at war [economic war]. This warrants the president to place war time restrictions on economic activities that could affect the war effort, economic well-being of the country, our ability to deal with sanctions and our capacity to deliver essential services to maintain unity.

Obvious priority areas include dealing with government and private corruption, foreign currency infringements, profiteering, transfer pricing, commodity cartels engaging in hoarding, tax evasion, money laundering, illegal externalizations and other such activities that compromise the nation.

It’s no longer a secret that western multi-national companies and NGOs are used extensively by western countries as extended arms of their foreign policies. As a nation we must therefore treat these entities with an appropriate level of caution and monitoring.

Resources Allocation

Resources must be allocated to plan, tackle, manage and monitor these sanctions. Data must be collected, compiled and communicators must disseminate information on the effects of the sanctions and progress of the mitigation strategies. Fighting sanctions must become a national agenda with all citizens involved, kept up to date on the fight and their role.

Presidential Powers Must Be Used

The president must be willing to use his executive powers to investigate, arrest, prohibit, control, take over, expel or take any other action against citizens, foreigners (NGOs, ambassadors, MNCs, companies, company executives and foreign citizens) who work against the interests of the nation.

The nation being open for business should not become an excuse for the government to abrogate its responsibility to protect the nation from threats internal or external. It often feels like President Mnangagwa’s open for business mantra has created the impression that Zimbabwe is open for exploitation and it’s government weak and vulnerable.

Foreign Currency Preservation

The use of foreign currency must be licensed, regulated and reserved for critical imports since the reserve currency is controlled by the same nation that has us under siege. Forex must be preserved, while we focus on building sufficient gold, diamond, chrome and lithium reserves to back our own currency to wean ourselves off relying on the currencies of the enemy.

The handbook on how often MPs and government officials get new imported vehicles must be revised and first procurement option must be given to cars assembled in Zimbabwe or brands belonging to other African countries like Nigeria’s Innoson.

Zimbabwe can not continue supporting the economies that have it under sanctions by importing their vehicles [Ford], leaving African and BRICS owned brands.

Import Substitution

Import substitution must be promoted over importing, while quotas are placed on importations of non-essential luxuries.

It doesn’t make sense for a nation at war and low on foreign currency to be importing European built 4x4s, Bugatti’s and Maybachs when the country is low on forex and at risk of conflict. All the nations resources must be directed into production of essentials and import substituting. This is something the president can regulate for under a state of emergency.

Criminalize Support For Sanctions

Support for sanctions must be criminalized as such support is tantamount to defection and supporting enemies of the republic which should be seen as treason.

In this regard intelligence services must be used to monitor citizens, social activists, law makers and duel citizens who are working for foreign interests as they have become Trojan horses.

All liaisons and activities that are against the nation’s interest disguised as democracy must be outlawed.


We have come to a time when we can no longer continue to ignore US sanctions on Zimbabwe because they are war sanctions that are tipping the nation over the edge.

What makes sanctions a favored tool for the United States is they are a hidden weapon that causes damage to human life, nation and institutions without exposing the hand of the Americans.

In time sanctions are designed to get people to blame their government for the effects of sanctions, causing them to revolt, pushing security forces to respond, resulting in a civilian outcry of human rights violations that will see US soldiers and other western powers intervene.

Sanctions, blockades and military might have been used for centuries by western nations to exert their hegemony on third world nations. They are the same tools that were used to advance transatlantic slavery, colonialism and the destruction of West African palm oil exporters.

In the 21st century, African countries can not continue to accept western nations to have monopoly on determining the economic, political and social rights of non-westerners based on their neo-colonial interest to monopolize resources.

I make no effort to talk about European sanctions because when Trump included the EU, UK, Canada and Australia in ZDERA. All US embargoes on Zimbabwe became an expression of the western alliance of hegemony that has its roots in Anglo Saxon domination of resources.

The ex-colonizers are acting as a block in advancing the control of African resources and it’s time that Zimbabweans, Africans and allies act as a block to counter and safe guard not only Zimbabwean interests but continental interests through proxy of Zimbabwean sanctions.

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare Of Frontline Strat Marketing

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