State media calls for punitive ‘anti-sanctions’ laws
By Alex Bell
The ZANU PF mouthpiece Herald newspaper has taken its propaganda campaign about western targeted restrictions to new levels, publishing calls for new legislation that punishes anyone who denies that the measures affect Zimbabwe.
The calls were contained in an opinion piece, calling on Parliament to enact an ‘Anti Sanctions Law’, in order to “bring before the courts of law anyone accused of breaking the laid down provisions of the law.”
“People who deny the existence of sanctions will have the great chance to tell the courts why they say there are no sanctions. But there could be stiff punishment for them to suffer if they fail to convince the courts with their denial arguments. The Anti-Sanctions law will also enable our nation to deal effectively with saboteurs and locally-based individual or institutional Western proxies that daily work clandestinely to ensure that the sanctions are biting,” the piece by a person called Shortie Bwidi reads.
Bwidi adds: “The anti-sanctions law will clip the long tails of quisling politicians with inflated egos who, whenever they open their mouths in public, leave no one in doubt that they are citizens of a country other than the Zimbabwe they disparage all the time. An anti-sanctions law will place bits in the mouths of the Deborah Bronnerts and Bruce Whartons of the diplomatic world.”
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said such publications suggest that ZANU PF is “desperate” to maintain the illusion that the targeted measures are to blame for Zimbabwe’s myriad of problems. He told SW Radio Africa that such threats against public opinion are indicative that nothing has changed in the party.
“This is only an attempt silence the opposition, silence critics, cause fear and appease Mugabe. People know the so-called sanctions are not the problem in Zimbabwe, so they (ZANU PF) are trying to make anyone who criticises the party on the sanctions an enemy,” Mashiri said.
The ZANU PF rhetoric about the measures has been consistent for years, but in recent months the campaign has been ratcheted up to new levels.
Mis-information about the measures and the affect they have on Zimbabwe have been published and vocalised repeatedly, with the restrictions being used as the scapegoat for all the problems caused by decades of ZANU PF mismanagement, greed and destructive policies.
The latest issues to be blamed on ‘sanctions’ are widespread hunger, the poaching crisis at the Hwange national park, the cholera outbreak of 2008 and, most recently, the water crisis in Harare.
Stanley Mungofa, the City of Harare Director for Environmental Health, on Monday said the measures were to blame for the Council’s failure to provide clean water and proper sanitation to Harare residents. Mungofa made the remarks during a media briefing held at the Ministry of Health offices, where officials were quizzed on their preparedness to deal with potential disease outbreaks that traditionally accompany the onset of the rainy season.
SW Radio Africa’s correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that Mungofa was put on the defensive after saying that ‘sanctions’ were to blame.
“When asked to explain what he meant, he indicated that when it comes to the issues of the Morton Jeffrey waterworks, no new infrastructure and no new system has been installed since it was built over 20 years ago, and they can’t make any new changes because of the sanctions,” Muchemwa explained.
He added: “They (the City Council) should have seen the problems coming even since 1998, but they failed to utilize the opportunities to build new dams and new reservoirs. Instead they chose to reward themselves high salaries, at the expense of service delivery in Harare. That is not the fault of sanctions.” SW Radio Africa