Harare, Sept 18, 2023
First of all we congratulate the people of Zimbabwe on holding a peaceful election, and congratulate President Mnangagwa on his statement that the future is about peace, unity, harmony, love, and development – leaving no part of society behind. This is also the message of the international community through the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
Today, the Zimbabwe Information Centre (ZIC) is officially announcing in Zimbabwe its Anti Sanctions Campaign for the Australian government to cancel its sanctions against a number of Zimbabwean individuals. ZIC is launching this campaign during our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Herbert Chitepo Australasia tour. In Zimbabwe, this celebration coincided with the 100th anniversary of Herbert Chitepo’s birthday organised by our partners the Zimbabwe Peacebuilding Initiative (ZimPI) and the Herbert Chitepo Foundation.
Fifty years ago, Jim and Sekai Holland who are hosting us today, had created the Alternative Rhodesia Information Centre later the Free Zimbabwe Centre (FZC). The activists were from the student movement, the workers’ movement and the churches. The Tanzanian Government on behalf of the Liberation Centre in Dar es Salaam, asked them to organise the first international tour of the Chairman of the Joint Military Command, Herbert Chitepo. Chairman Chitepo presented the message of all the African Liberation Movements to Australasia, their values of democracy, dignity and equality as universal principles. Racism, sexism and class has no place in democratic societies.
We see these values loud and clear in the peaceful elections just concluded. Peace has been achieved. Zimbabweans can now come together in unity and harmony to develop their country.
The international community must respect this democratic achievement emerging from the values and vision of the liberation struggle, which Chitepo had introduced to us in 1973.
The Australian so-called targeted sanctions on a few Zimbabwean individuals have not been targeted for many years. Instead, they are impacting on all Zimbabweans because of the refusal of some international banks to process any transactions from and to Zimbabwe. This reality is hurting jobs, tourism, trade, investment, service delivery and communications. They are hurting all Zimbabwean people.
The remaining sanctions must be withdrawn, not only by the Australian government but by the US, Britain and the European Union. We strongly believe this will help Zimbabwe integrate fully with the international community of nations as a friend to all and enemy to none. The prevailing peace can help boost Zimbabwe as a prime tourist destination and more can be done to boost agriculture, manufacturing and mining output. Social welfare must be prioritised.
We visited two communities who are demonstrating their determination to collectively improve their lives. These are the peace village and school in Kuwadzana and the Rugare community. The community in Rugare is supporting a local orphanage, a feeding centre for the under privileged members of their community, and refurbishing community infrastructure such as the community church and a local police station. These inspiring community initiatives are fully part of the global aspiration expression of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. These aspirations were also fully expressed in the election message of unity, harmony, peace and development.
On His Excellency President Mnangagwa’s salutations during the inauguration, we were pleasantly surprised with his inclusion of civil society. We welcome that inclusion and pledge to consolidate our partnership with the Zimbabwe Government as we enjoy with our own.
Peter Murphy, Graham Chuck, Zimbabwe Information Centre, Sydney, Australia