I have informed my family to sign the petition for the sake of their security, while inside their hearts they know what they really want, and will vote the way they feel in the next election.
But have the architects of the anti-sanctions strategy ever made an analysis to assess its likely impact? What will they do with the signed petitions once they have been gathered? The obvious thing should be to take the petitions to the embassies of countries that have imposed the measures and demand that they inform their respective governments to remove them.
The likely explanation of the embassies to the people of Zimbabwe could be that the restrictive measures they have enforced are targeted at individuals whom they have identified as responsible for violence and repression. They will argue that they have not stopped trade with Zimbabwe, and can provide statistics of the amount of trade that has taken place between their countries and Zimbabwe.
They can also argue that they have been supporting Zimbabweans in their time of need, and give statistics of the humanitarian aid they have released to Zimbabwe since the introduction of the restrictive measures against Zanu PF officials who have been identified as contributing to violence against perceived opponents.
According to FewsNet, some 1,7 million Zimbabweans require food aid until April. The bulk of the assistance will come from the same countries accused of imposing sanctions on Mugabe.
Zanu PF risks embarrassment if, in response to the petitions, the US and Europe say they are not removing the restrictive measures, leaving egg on Zanu PF’s face as people come to realise that all the effort is but the barking of a toothless bulldog.
Benjamin Chitate, New Zealand.