When ZASM started its fight against sanctions, we had nine main objectives:

1. Depoliticizing the fight against sanctions to level the playing field between our third world country and the superpowers that are imposing illegal sanctions upon our civilians and their leaders who had never been tried for any of the alleged crimes that sanctions were supposedly imposed for.

2. This would go hand in hand with redeeming the image of our nation and reasserting Zimbabwean humanity through court rulings and declarations on the illegality of sanctions by the United Nations and other international bodies.

To achieve these first two objectives meant legalizing the fight against sanctions to make it a legal and human rights fight in the international arena. This would also be accompanied by making the world aware that innocent human beings were the ones being punished by these illegal sanctions, on the basis that their leaders were perpetuating human rights violations that were actually never tried and convicted in any court.

3. Internationalizing the fight through multilateral institutions and international courts, also formed an integral part of legalizing this fight so as to make the international community and international law the arbiters of the legality of these illegal sanctions.

4. Another critical pillar was breaking public apathy on the subject and creating enough publicity in a hostile media environment to conscientize Zimbabweans, the continent and the international community that Zimbabwe was under attack of illegal sanctions which were aimed at forcing Zimbabweans to vote for any government other than the ruling party, causing civil unrest to achieve Arab Spring style regime change or western intervention in Zimbabwe.

5. To create more public awareness and solidarity for Zimbabwe against these illegal sanctions imposed on the country, in the absence of a communication budget, in an environment where US social media companies work to muzzle pages that expose the evils of the US government.

6. Shifting the negative portrayal of Zimbabwe by gaining more attention from global media and partners, to tell the Zimbabwean story with the aim of attracting investment into the country from the Zimbabwean diaspora, the broader African diaspora and the east.

7. Advising foreign businesses on how to mitigate or bust sanctions, when intending to invest in Zimbabwe.

8. Uniting the Zimbabwean people around national interest to build patriotism and national pride.

9. Creating laws to punish those who go to hostile foreign nations to call for sanctions.

• The results are we successfully got the UN Human Rights Council to come and measure the negative impact of sanctions in Zimbabwe and in so doing the UNHRC determined that the sanctions on the country were illegal and violating civilians human rights, thus opening a door for legal action to remove sanctions and pursue reparations.

• More importantly, we got the US Congress Subcommittee on human rights, health and organization to engage POLAD and to inform them that they would be undertaking an impact assessment of their sanctions on Zimbabwean health and human rights for the first time in 21 yrs.

• We are currently in the South African high court, litigating against the financial institutions that are illegally implementing illegal sanctions in violation of human rights.

• We will be starting the Zimbabwean, African court and ICJ legs of litigation against these illegal sanctions and human rights violations in the next coming months.

• The whole of SADC and AU have joined Zimbabwe in the campaign for the removal of these illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.

• The South African government has done a report measuring the impact of these sanctions on Zimbabwe.

• Investment is now coming into the country thick and fast, illustrating that the efforts to clean up the image of the country have been very successful.

• We launched a case against the SABC with the BCCSA for their negative portrayal of Zimbabwe. In turn, a tribunal was held on the 17th of May 2022 and the SABC asked the tribunal for more time to negotiate with ZASM on how they can improve coverage on Zimbabwe.

• On the awareness front, people across the world are slowly getting to know more about Zimbabwean sanctions and the fact that they are human rights violations, than they did before.

• As a cherry on top of the cake, the Patriotic Act is being enacted after we proposed it.

And all this is being achieved without using a cent of taxpayers money but personal funds and donations from a few amazing patriots.

That’s a job well done by the Zimbabwe Anti Sanctions Movement in my books but much more still needs to be done.

Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare of ZASM.

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