EU to lift sanctions on all but 10 Zimbabweans
HARARE – THE European Union is set to lift sanctions on all but 10 Zimbabwe Government officials in response to the “peaceful” referendum on the new constitution, officials said on Friday.
The EU eased sanctions on Zimbabwe last month by lifting asset freezes and travel bans on 27 people, including six ministers, as well as well as one company — Divine Home (PVT) Ltd — which is owned by Zanu PF official David Chapfika.
Geoffrey van Orden, a British member of the European Parliament who has previously campaigned for the sanctions to remain, said Friday that there were “moves to lift the EU restrictive measures on most of the Mugabe supporters that had previously been banned from Europe and had their assets frozen”.
He added: “Only 10 individuals from the 91 previously banned and two companies will remain on the list.”
The 10 individuals to remain on the blacklist, it is believed, include President Robert Mugabe and security chiefs.
The State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) — involved in the mining of diamonds in eastern Zimbabwe — is also seen staying on the sanctions list.
The EU had indicated last month that a peaceful and credible referendum will be reciprocated through the easing of sanctions.
But the latest moves are unlikely to appease Mugabe’s Zanu PF party which says the sanctions are unjust and illegal. The party wants all sanctions on the country lifted — and has received the backing of its MDC coalition partners.
Van Orden MEP, who chairs the European Parliament ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’ group, said: “We recognise that there has been some movement in the right direction and this needs to be reinforced. The referendum was just a first step. The really important event will be the elections later in the year.
“Our concern now is that all the processes connected with the elections should be carried out fairly and correctly and that campaigning is free from violence and intimidation.
“A reduction in the restrictive measures is just about acceptable provided they can be quickly reimposed if there is any sign of violence, intimidation or manipulation of the electoral process. My understanding is that this is exactly what has been agreed.
“The changes meet the wishes of other African countries and will signal to Zanu PF insiders and to army and police chiefs that they have nothing to fear from real democratic change.
“The ball is now in Mugabe’s court.”
The EU first imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 following presidential elections which it said were flawed.
But Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has fingered former colonial power Britain as the instigator of the measures in response to its policy of seizing land from white farmers and redistributing it to landless blacks. — New Zimbabwe