The African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council has partnered with civil society in Zimbabwe in the call for sanctions imposed on the country to be lifted.

The group says that penalties have made it difficult for government to access lines of debt relief and has negatively affected the economy, resulting in the current unemployment rate of over 80%.

Activist and member of the Southern African Civil Society, Martha Shumba, says the economic situation in Zimbabwe is very tough and prices are extremely high.

“We have the farms where people produce their own goods but nowhere to sell them, we don’t have the market. Those sanctions don’t affect the leadership, they affect the poor Zimbabweans. It’s like putting poison in a communal world, expecting to kill the rich people but they all drink bottled water. We are the ones feeling the poison,” says Shumba.

Shumba adds that there have been investors lining up to sponsor Zimbabwe but can’t because of the sanctions. She says the sanctions are aimed at the private sector, which cannotaccess funding.

“What Zimbabwe needs right now is not people on the streets with placards to beat one another but for everybody to come together to rebuild the country,” says Shumba.

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