On Friday, 25 October 2019, thousands of Zimbabweans marched from downtown central Harare to the capital’s main sport stadium to protest Western sanctions against the country.
The marchers, who were led by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and senior ruling ZANU OF officials, braved the scorching sun to move from Robert Mugabe Square on the outskirts of the Harare central business district to the National Sports Stadium, about 6km away.
The Zimbabwean government claims that it has failed to deliver on its promise of bringing sustainable growth and development due to sanctions imposed by the European Union and United States since 2002.
Critics however deny that the “targeted sanctions” slapped on selected ruling ZANU PF officials and state-owned companies are the root cause of the country’s economic challenges, and instead blame the problems on poor governance and corruption.
Friday’s march follows a decision by the thirty-ninth Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit held in Tanzania in August to declare 25 October 2019 as the day when the region would rally behind Zimbabwe on its demand to have sanctions against it removed.
SADC said in a statement on Friday that the region is “deeply concerned” about the prevailing sanctions imposed by the EU and the USA on Zimbabwe “and is mindful of the impact of these sanctions.
“The sanctions have proved to be directly affecting entities beyond the so-called targeted individuals and have a negative impact on the credibility of Zimbabwe and serious trickle-down effects on the economy and people of Zimbabwe, and by extension, the SADC Region,” the bloc said.
SADC is calling for the immediate lifting of the sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in Zimbabwe.
The protesters are expected to be addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the stadium and would be entertained by a soccer match and a musical show.