The strategic relevance of sanctions as a democratizing tool in the third world in an emerging multi-polar world: A case study of Zimbabwe
Chirimambowa, Tamuka Charles
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The increasing use of sanctions as a democratisation tool has elicited many questions regarding their strategic relevance and effectiveness in an emerging multi-polar world. The rise of China, India, Brazil, resurgence of Russia and other emerging economies has meant the reshaping and shift of centers of global economic power relations. This has presented challenges in particular to the Western world in global governance. Given that sanctions have been traditionally used to force perceived recalcitrant states to comply with Western norms of democracy; the effect of multipolarity has meant alternative pressure points for nations slapped with Western sanctions. This study sought to assess the strategic relevance of sanctions as a democratising tool in an emerging multipolar world, using Zimbabwe as a case study. Qualitative research methodology was adopted in this study. This included the use of a case study, and secondary review of existing literature to obtain information for the study. The study sought to answer the following questions (i) what is the nature and objectives of sanctions on Zimbabwe? (ii) Did the sanctions achieve their objectives? (iii) What were Zimbabwe‘s responses? (iv) Were the sanctions effective? Therefore, broadly the study sought to interrogate what lessons or conclusions can we draw from Zimbabwe‘s case? The findings of this research established that Zimbabwe is indeed under sanctions. The so-called smart or restrictive measures are real sanctions. The study was inconclusive on whether the sanctions achieved their objectives or not? Similarly, neither could it be argued that the sanctions were ineffective or effective. Zimbabwe‘s sanctions case is a complex one with different and conflicting outcomes. Zimbabwe devised five counter sanctions strategy which were (i) The Sino Factor (ii) Ideology (iii) The SADC Lobby (iv) Nexus of Global Players-Local issues: The Case of Diamonds (v) The incorporation of the Movement for Democratic Change into government. These strategies ensured the survival of the Zimbabwe government. It can therefore be concluded that the use of sanctions as democratisation tools needs a careful and thorough study before their imposition. It is also recommended that sanctions need a continuous review, to adjust them to the emerging or obtaining political environment if they are to influence democratic transitions in the Third World.