By Open Parly
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has announced the University of Zimbabwe consortium as the winning team billed to research the impact of sanctions in Zimbabwe.
This development comes after the Ministry advertised calling for proposals in September last year, the ministry has dedicated USD150 000 to bankroll the research. The research team is made up of academics who specialize in different sector and the research will investigate the effect of sanctions within Zimbabwe and abroad touching on all the sectors which include education, industry, agriculture and more.
Speaking at a press conference held at the ministry offices in the Capital, John Dhewa the acting Principal Director at the ministry said, “The research will be completed in one year, it is expected that the findings of the research will be published in several and international peer reviewed journals” while reading from a statement signed by the Minister Jonathan Moyo.
Moyo further justified the research, “…we know that the discourse on sanctions is largely been political in the sense that it has been the political players that have dealt with this question largely playing out in the media with people taking positions making all sorts of claims but While all that has been happening the reality of sanctions has been playing out in the real world of ordinary people”
He added the research team will operate independently from the ministry as his ministry’s role was to facilitate for the research to be conducted and was also anxious to know the findings of the research.
Interestingly one of the consortium member present at the press briefing refused to speak to the press after the briefing regardless of Moyo making room for sideline interviews.
“Talk to the Ministry” said one Professor Charity Manyeruke as she declined to speak to this scribe.
Political Analyst, Alexander Rusero has applauded the research initiative but raised some concerns, “…By and large it is critical in this dispensation to conduct a study or reseach specifically on sanctions but my major worry is the funder, the moment you have a government subsidiary funding a research something is wrong in such kind of an approach because you would then be much afraid of trying to come up with research findings that are contrary to the expectations of the funder.”
Rusero adds that he foresees a cliché coming off the research outcomes, “…this research of sanctions is likely going to yield things that are already known. I don’t think a research to access the implications of sanctions is viable under the current circumstances but a research maybe carried on to curb the effect or implications of sanctions a research that calls for preparedness in future.”
Some critics welcome the research if it is from a pure academic perspective arguing that this may put the end to government’s unending blame game on sanctions to cover for their short comings.
Zimbabwe has been under sanctions since 2001 where United States of America imposed sanctions of Zimbabwe which were later beefed up by the European Union and its Common wealth allies. Over the years some sanctions have been repealed while new sanctions have been imposed. If anything this research may reveal the effect of targeted sanctions which many have argued are not only affecting the targeted persons.