Friday the 25th of October 2019 was declared a national public holiday in Zimbabwe to recognize the ‘Anti-Sanctions’ day called for by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Several African countries and Zimbabweans alike converged and marched on this day to demonstrate against US and EU sanctions imposed on the country due to allegations of human rights abuses.
In the host country Zimbabwe, marchers gathered at Robert Mugabe Square just on the western periphery of Harare Central Business District and later walked about seven kilometers to the National Sports Stadium where President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave a speech denouncing the sanctions.
“It’s clear and undeniable that sanctions were a reaction to the just and necessary action of taking our land. For the avoidance of doubt, the Land Reform Programme is not reversible. As the people of Zimbabwe, we cannot continue to have our fundamental human rights and dignity trampled upon”, said President Mnangagwa.
Many believe that these sanctions are a diversion by government from the real issues of massive corruption, nepotism, no respect for the rule of law and human rights abuses troubling the Southern African country.
Independent MP for Norton Constituency Themba Mliswa tweeted, “My advice is to use Gwanzura and Rufaro Stadium for the next national events, the National Sports Stadium exposes the truth about the leadership of ZANU PF, out of touch with the masses as none of them have been elected into office.”
Government sent out memos to tertiary institutions and schools asking students to partake of the march. Marchers were well catered for by popular fast food outlet Chicken Slice but by the end of the day a lot of the food had no one to eat because many did not attend the function.
The ANC was represented by its Secretary general Ace Magashule who crossed the border with ANC supporters to march together with Zimbabweans living at the Beitbridge border post town. Many activities in SADC countries were conducted in recognition of the day while in Europe, several government officials delivered a petition at number 10 Downing street, England.
The targeted sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2003 during late President Robert Mugabe’s rule soon after the nationwide Land Reform which dispossessed formerly white owned farms by the majority black population.
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