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Zimbabwe’s pro-government protestors to hold ‘Anti-Sanction Solidarity Day’ demonstrations

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Zimbabwe’s pro-government protestors to hold ‘Anti-Sanction Solidarity Day’ demonstrations

Columbus Mavhunga VOA
Photo: Columbus Mavhunga/VOA

Pro-government protestors are expected to take to the streets of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare today, in opposition to US and EU sanctions.

Washington and Brussels have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwean nationals since the early 2000’s. The sanctions target government officials and private sector accomplices who have engaged in public corruption, harassment of independent press and acts of political intimidation. Harare has declared today an anti-sanctions public holiday, stating that the restrictions broadly hurt Zimbabwe’s economy and the regional economy as a whole.

Zimbabwe continues to rank in international indexes as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, so do not expect Brussels and Washington to be swayed by today’s demonstrations. In the medium-term, however, expect Western policymakers to debate the utility of sanctions because, since their imposition, Zimbabwe has made only marginal progress in addressing public sector corruption.

While it is true that the sanctions only target government officials and pro-government industries, they may contribute indirectly to persistent food, water and power shortages. So, if the economic crisis worsens such that humanitarian concerns outweigh the need to pressure the government into implementing reforms, Brussels and Washington may relieve some sanctions on firms or provide short-term aid.

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