The president of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe, Bishop Amon Dubie Madawo, has demanded the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and its allies arguing that the economic restrictions are hurting ordinary people.
James O’Brien, the U.S. State Department’s sanctions coordinator, recently said Zimbabwe’s economic decline was caused by corruption and bad economic policies, and not by sanctions.
He said the U.S.and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in response to election rigging and human rights abuses.
But speaking during an interview with The Manica Post, Madawo said sanctions are a form of punishment imposed on Zimbabwe after Harare embarked on the land reform programme to redistribute national resources equitably. Madawo said:
The church, as an agent, can comment on anything. It has its own voice on this sanctions story because they are affecting the generality of Zimbabweans.
They are an albatross around the neck of Christians and the generality of the population.
There is misinformation that the sanctions are targeted at certain individuals, yet their debilitating impact is affecting all of us. They are affecting the whole nation.
Their victims are innocent people whom we preach to every day and these are people who are not in decision-making positions.
These sanctions are not helping but hurting the people of Zimbabwe. Our country and economy could be doing much better without them.
We cannot secure credit lines and foreign direct investments as a result of these sanctions, meaning they are stifling economic growth.
As church leaders, we are saying the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe must be removed.
It is not wrong for us to demand our liberty in terms of our land, economy and democratic space.
The people of Zimbabwe cannot be subjected to this kind of torture and suffering simply because they took back their land and corrected the racially-induced disproportionate distribution of national resources.
Zimbabwe is an independent nation that should attain its socio-economic self-actualisation. Historically, the land belonged to black people and it was taken away from us, so why should we be punished for correcting a historical injustice?
Why should we suffer for claiming back our land? These sanctions must be removed, they are not for any good to anyone.