ZBC TV News Anchor Lee Ann Bernard Decries Sanctions

H-Metro’s Latwell Nyangu (LN), spoke to the director of WINCOBRANDS -award-winning SADC television news anchor, Lee Ann Bernard (LB) on the issue of sanctions.

SADC countries have declared October 25 as solidarity day against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. Read On:

LN: With your influence how would you urge other Zimbabweans to embrace our own efforts as being demonstrated by the current dispensation?

LB: Firstly, I believe there is good reason for the citizenry to make good local governance–and citizen participation–an important part of their work in building more peaceful societies. Conflicts have an impact on local contexts: Irrespective of the nature of underlying factors, and the dynamics surrounding conflict or violence, conflicts affect the livelihoods of people in local communities.

Inclusive citizen participation can help amplify the voices of the marginalized: The Second Republic has a different approach in hearing and attending to the plight of the nation and with just one term in office President E.D Mnangagwa’s government has proved the talk on open dialogue to address this. 

LN: How can we spread good news outside there about our country?

LB: As Zimbabweans it is our mandate to retell the true story about Zimbabwe. One voice echoing the true origin of what we have to offer as a nation. We need development programmes that can only realise their full potential if knowledge and technology are shared effectively.

Communication is central to this task in many ways. For example, it enables planners, when identifying and formulating development programmes, to consult with people in order to take into account their needs, attitudes and traditional knowledge. Only with communication will the project beneficiaries become the principal actors to make development programmes successful available across the globe.

Helping people at all levels to communicate empowers them to recognise important information about the country and its resources. On top of that, development involves change, new ways of doing things. Communication media and techniques can be powerful tools to advertise the country’s heritage and attraction to tourists.

LN: How can we best address the issue of sanctions against Zimbabwe?

LB: We need to find sincere ways of communicating the effect of sanctions, for example Zimbabwe is blessed with multiple tourist destinations. A simple thing like creating souvenirs engraved with a message like, “Thank you for visiting Zimbabwe, without sanctions your experience could have been much better”.

This will help in making the world aware of the negative impact sanctions have had on Zimbabwe. It is very relieving that the United Nations is currently investigating the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
This is a welcome development, for a long time Zimbabwe’s cry against sanctions have received no attention from the World.

LN: In your view how have sanctions affected our country?

LB: Zimbabwe is unable to trade openly with the rest of the world because of sanctions. I’m sure many businesses people can attest to the fact that on different platforms they have been barred from transacting simply because they are Zimbabweans and the country is under economic sanctions contrary to the claim that sanctions do not harm the common man. If businesses are restricted in their operations it is impossible for them to grow thus impossible to create employment.

In recent times a multiple business owner Kuda Tagwirei and his businesses were added to the sanctions list. Let’s remember that these companies employ Zimbabweans and if they can’t operate it means more and more Zimbabweans will be unemployed. A lot of companies have shut down since the imposition of sanctions this destroyed the manufacturing sector which relied on foreign inputs as well as spares for the equipment from countries such as Germany. This led to a situation where the country started relying on imports putting pressure on the currency and causing uncontrollable price increases.

LN: Without sanctions where would you think our country will be?
ZBC TV News Anchor Lee Ann Bernard Decries Sanctions
ZBC TV News Anchor Lee Ann Bernard Decries Sanctions
LB: Without sanctions I think Zimbabwe would be a regional economic powerhouse and the home of African Tourism. We have very skilled and educated people and we are definitely the most hospitable country in the region with perhaps the lowest crime rate.

LN: Why is it there are some other Zimbabweans who do not want to acknowledge that sanctions on the country exist?

LB: I would say the most vocal Zimbabweans with ulterior motives are the ones who are oblivious to sanctions. They are indeed people who would be irrelevant if Zimbabwe’s economy were to recover. The sooner we start realizing that we can only grow the country on truth as a family the better. Some people thrive on painting a bad image about Zimbabwe that includes blaming everything else and every one else but sanctions. These are the people who are spreading the cancer of sanctions denial instead of using their influence to truthfully teach people.

LN: DO you think Zimbabwe can reach such a stage where we can sustain the economy through locals?

LB: I think Zimbabwe is already doing that, the economy has recently been reported to have grown by 3.9 percent in 2021 according to the World Bank. This is all due to the combined hard work by the Zimbabwean people and the Government despite the sanctions. Sanctions will not stop us from doing our best but they do stop us from reaching our full potential.

LN: What’s your message of hope to the young generation in Zimbabwe?

LB: My message to Zimbabweans is we must continue to work hard but we should simultaneously learn about sanctions, they are a reality you will be amazed how much you will learn, we can learn to manoeuvre them.

But we need to understand this as a reality, denying the truth will not help us in any way. At the end of the day Zimbabwe will be built by us but we live in a global village and we will be better if we are able to trade openly with the rest of the world without restrictions. LN: How best can you advise a generation in despair?

LB: Let’s not give up, let’s pay more attention to the world around us, let’s take the initiative to learn instead of believing every Tom, Dick and Harry. Most importantly register to vote and look for substance in your candidates not faces, its policies that change things for our country not mere words and promises.

LN: Any notable benefits from the new dispensation?

LB: Look around the country, look at the airport, go to Mt Hampden, look at the roads. The new dispensation is doing amazing under the circumstances, our maize output has been amazing thanks to hardworking farmers, the government and most importantly God forgiving us the rain And helping our leaders.

President ED Mnangagwa has made it clear that Zimbabwe is open for business and has gone to great lengths to address some requirements for the lifting of sanctions. Very soon the President will be going to the United Kingdom and I’m sure on top of his agenda is the issue of sanctions and Zimbabwe’s best interests. Our leader understands the need to belong to a global village.

LN: Thank you Lee for your time.

LB: You are welcome.

Source: H-Metro
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