On Thursday October 26, the Chinese government handed over to Zimbabwe a new parliament building that was constructed and funded by China. The building, which photographs show to have been built in a distinct Zimbabwean national style, was handed over to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a ceremony attended by government officials, diplomats, Chinese embassy officials, and others.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Mnangagwa said that the building is a pivot point around which a new administrative capital will be built.
“The new parliament building, which stands as one of the most magnificent and modern buildings in our country, signifies the excellent relations that exist between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China,” he added.
These excellent relations date back to the Zimbabwean people’s armed struggle to overthrow the racist and colonial regime and win national independence. China fully supported that struggle. President Mnangagwa himself was one of those who were trained in guerilla warfare in China.
The timing of the handover of the parliament building was very apposite as it came the day after Anti-Sanctions Day. October 25 was designated as Anti-Sanctions Day by the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) in response to the sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, and other anti-imperialist, independent countries, by leading imperialist powers such as the United States and Britain. According to Zimbabwean Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, addressing an Anti-Sanctions Day rally in the capital, Harare:
“Since 2001, we estimate that Zimbabwe has lost or missed over 150 billion US dollars through frozen assets, trade embargoes, export and investment restrictions from potential bilateral donor support, development loans, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank balance of payment support, and commercial loans.”
A meeting was also held in New York to express solidarity with the Zimbabwean people on this occasion. It was organised by the December 12 Movement (D12), a revolutionary nationalist organisation that has maintained close ties with Zimbabwe and its ruling ZANU-PF party for many years. While three members of D12 were in Zimbabwe to take part in the anti-sanctions activities there, veteran member Colette Pean told the New York gathering that settlers had stolen 86% of Zimbabwe’s land. Despite the sanctions, Zimbabwe has built hydroelectric dams and shared development projects equally among its 10 provinces.
US and other capitalists now want to grab Zimbabwe’s large lithium reserves, vital to making batteries for electric cars. But December 12th Movement member Vinson Verdree said Zimbabwe won’t let its lithium be stolen. The country will build a battery plant and other facilities to process the raw material.
The timing of China’s handover of the new parliament to Zimbabwe therefore underlines its utter rejection of universal sanctions.
This was also made clear in the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular press conference on October 25. The Global Times newspaper asked spokesperson Mao Ning:
“During the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly this year, leaders of many African countries condemned Western countries for abusing sanctions and interfering in internal affairs of African countries. Today, October 25, is the Anti-Sanctions Day declared by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). African countries have called on the West to lift illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe as soon as possible. What’s China’s comment?”
She replied: “The 39th SADC Summit held in 2019 named October 25 as the Anti-Sanctions Day and called on the US and some other Western countries and organisations to remove sanctions on Zimbabwe. Today, on the occasion of the fifth Anti-Sanctions Day, we noted that multiple African countries have once again strongly called for lifting the sanctions. China supports that.
“The unlawful sanctions of the US and some Western countries on Zimbabwe, which have lasted for over two decades, have seriously violated the country’s sovereignty, infringed upon the development right of the Zimbabwean people, and disrupted the international political and economic order and the global governance system.
“China, as always, firmly supports Zimbabwe in opposing external interference and keeping to its own development path. We once again urge the few countries and organisations to listen to the international call for justice, lift the unlawful sanctions on Zimbabwe as soon as possible, take responsible and concrete steps to help the country develop its economy and improve people’s wellbeing, and play a constructive role in promoting world peace and development.”
The following articles were originally published by the Xinhua News Agency and the US publication Struggle/La Lucha.
China hands over Zimbabwe’s new parliament building
HARARE, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government on Thursday handed over to Zimbabwe a new parliament building that was constructed and funded by China through a grant.
Tang Wenhong, vice chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and head of a visiting Chinese delegation, officially handed over the majestic building to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a ceremony attended by government officials, diplomats, and Chinese embassy officials, among others.
The new parliament building, with a combined floor area of 33,000 square meters, is a pivot point around which a new administrative capital will be built, said Mnangagwa in his address at the ceremony.
“The new parliament building, which stands as one of the most magnificent and modern buildings in our country, signifies the excellent relations that exist between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China. The attention to detail and high standards of workmanship exhibited in this project are indeed commendable,” Mnangagwa said.
Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe recognizes the development milestones achieved by China and its quest for global peace and a shared future for mankind.
Tang, in his address at the ceremony, said the project is a vivid manifestation of the cooperation between Zimbabwe and China.
Both sides have achieved fruitful results in practical cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, health, education and other fields, setting a model for South-South cooperation, Tang said.
Zimbabweans rally against decades-long sanctions by Western countries
HARARE, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — Zimbabweans took to streets on Wednesday to protest against the sanctions imposed on their country by the United States and other Western nations more than two decades ago.
During a campaign in the country’s capital Harare marking Anti-Sanctions Day, which falls on Oct. 25, Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said that sanctions have significantly hindered Zimbabwe’s economic development.
“The sanctions include financial restrictions and illegal economic measures that alienate Zimbabwe from global supply chains and the global financial system as well as bar capital inflows mainly from the West,” he said.
According to Chiwenga, these illegal sanctions have caused the Zimbabwean economy to contract drastically over the two decades since their imposition.
“Since 2001, we estimate that Zimbabwe has lost or missed over 150 billion U.S. dollars through frozen assets, trade embargoes, export and investment restrictions from potential bilateral donor support, development loans, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank balance of payment support, and commercial loans,” he said.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe since 2001, as a response to the government’s decision to address colonial injustices by redistributing land to indigenous Zimbabweans. These sanctions have severely impacted the country, resulting in prompting widespread calls for their removal, both within Zimbabwe and from international voices.
The Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc comprising 16 countries, designated Oct. 25 as Anti-Sanctions Day in 2019 to show solidarity with Zimbabwe in its opposition to the sanctions.
During the anti-sanctions march, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Frederick Shava told Xinhua that the sanctions have caused significant hardship for businesses. “These sanctions are a real albatross on our neck. They are affecting every aspect of our economy. They are affecting business in the sense that our business here cannot interact internationally because they are being denied transactions in banks when they do business.”
“Our industry and commerce would have been flying by now, but it’s being drawn back by these sanctions,” he added.
Ruvarashe Hapaguti, a young online content creator, pointed out how sanctions affect the daily lives of ordinary citizens. She said that financial restrictions imposed on Zimbabwe limit the participation of young people in the digital world, affecting artists who promote their work on social media platforms.
“As an artist that promotes their stuff on social media platforms, I get less money than I am meant to actually get because of the sanctions that have been imposed on us. Some of the transactions that we partake in daily at the banks and remittances are limited because of these sanctions,” Hapaguti said.
Martin Zharare, executive director of the anti-sanctions group Citizens Against Economic Sanctions, said that the embargo has been employed as part of a regime change agenda by the West. He urged that sanctions should not be used as a political tool to bring disaster or anarchy to Zimbabwe.
In her report published in September 2022, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan, highlighted the significant impact of sanctions, including secondary sanctions and over-compliance by foreign banks and companies, on both the people and the government of Zimbabwe, saying these sanctions have exacerbated preexisting economic and humanitarian challenges in the country.
Africa says no to sanctions: Stop strangling Zimbabwe
Oct. 27 (Struggle La Lucha) — Over 3,000 Palestinian children have been killed in Gaza by U.S.-made bombs and missiles launched by the U.S.-financed Zionist regime. Gaza and all of Palestine have been under siege for decades, not only by bullets but also by economic sanctions.
Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran, People’s Korea, Nicaragua, the Russian Federation, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe have had their economies targeted by U.S. and European banksters for destruction.
In response, the 16-nation Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) designated Oct. 25 as Anti-Sanctions Day. This year, thousands of people marched in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, on Oct. 25 to say No! to this economic warfare.
Zimbabwe Vice President Constantino Chiwenga described the damage inflicted on the African country by these sanctions:
“Since 2001, we estimate that Zimbabwe has lost or missed over 150 billion U.S. dollars through frozen assets, trade embargoes, export and investment restrictions from potential bilateral donor support, development loans, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank balance of payment support, and commercial loans.”
Since 15 million people live in Zimbabwe, these sanctions have cost every person living in the African country $10,000. Zimbabwe’s “crime” was for Africans to reclaim their land from the colonial settlers who stole it.
That should have happened in the United States in 1865 following the Civil War. Justice demanded that the plantations be taken over by the Africans who tilled the land and the Indigenous nations that it was stolen from.
Capitalists stopped this from happening because they wanted to exploit Black labor instead. Their descendants are now putting the screws on Zimbabwe and other sanctioned countries.
Solidarity in Brooklyn
In solidarity with Anti-Sanctions Day, the December 12th Movement held a meeting at Sistas’ Place in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Three members of D12 were in Zimbabwe attending the Anti-Sanctions march and other activities.
Lateefah Carter of D12 chaired the meeting. A BreakThrough News video was shown featuring Rutendo Matinyarare, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement (ZASM). Eugene Puryear and Rania Khalek interviewed him.
Matinyarare described how, in its first decade, independent Zimbabwe built 5,700 schools. Zimbabwe was attacked after war veterans who liberated the country started to take over the settler-owned farms.
President George W. Bush — who let Black and poor people drown and starve in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina — issued “targeted sanctions” against Zimbabwe. Bush was joined by what Rutendo Matinyarare called the “Berlin Conference Cabal,” meaning those European countries that divided up Africa in that infamous 1884-1885 meeting.
Colette Pean pointed out that settlers had stolen 86% of Zimbabwe’s land. Despite the sanctions, Zimbabwe has built hydroelectric dams and shared development projects equally among its 10 provinces.
Pean, a December 12th member, said that Zimbabwe has had bumper harvests the last three years. Good news about Africa like this doesn’t find its way into the corporate media.
Roger Wareham of D-12 pointed out how the United States supports Britain, Zimbabwe’s former colonial overlord that called the country “Rhodesia.” The people of Zimbabwe waged a nearly 20-year-long “Chimurenga” liberation war to win their freedom.
The U.S. Senate voted in 1971 to allow imports of chrome from “Rhodesia” in violation of United Nations sanctions against the settler regime. The Senate now helps to impose sanctions on independent Zimbabwe.
Roger Wareham said Zimbabwe is hurt by the “brain drain” of health workers and other skilled people, many of whom work in Britain.
U.S. and other capitalists now want to grab Zimbabwe’s large lithium reserves, vital to making batteries for electric cars. December 12th Movement member Vinson Verdree said Zimbabwe won’t let its lithium be stolen. The country will build a battery plant and other facilities to process the raw material.
Despite the sanctions and the lies in the media, Zimbabwe is moving forward.