Mugabe, Grace, Mutasa and service chiefs remain on EU sanctions list

Mugabe, Grace, Mutasa and service chiefs remain on EU sanctions list

SW Radio Africa  - by Violet Gonda
25 March 2013

Didymus Mutasa remains on the sanctions list

Didymus Mutasa, the Minister for Presidential Affairs is the only cabinet minister left on the EU sanctions list, together with President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace, war vet leader Jabulani Sibanda and service chiefs.

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia said the European Union had suspended travel bans and asset freezes on 81 out of 91 individuals on Monday and most Zimbabwean companies had been delisted in a “major move that demonstrates the recognition of a successful and peaceful constitutional referendum that took place in Zimbabwe recently.”

“Eight of the ten companies have also been de-listed, which is a major move that demonstrates the recognition of the importance of peaceful electoral events in Zimbabwe and also support the efforts of the region – SADC and South Africa as facilitator,” the EU ambassador told SW Radio Africa.

Senior ZANU PF ministers such as Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangwgwa, Saviour Kasukuwere and Vice President Joice Mujuru have had their restrictions suspended, but Dell’Ariccia said the people who remain on the list are considered key decision makers in the country and “will remain
subjected to the restrictive measures until peaceful, transparent elections
have been achieved.”

The individuals who remain on the EU sanctions list are:

  • President Robert Mugabe
  • First Lady Grace Mugabe
  • Didymus Mutasa, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs & ZANU PF Secretary for Administration
  • Jabulani Sibanda, Leader of the National War Veterans Association
  • Happyton Bonyongwe, Director of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
  • General Augustine Chihuri, Police Commissioner
  • General Constantine Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence forces
  • Air Marshal Perence Shiri, Commander of the Zimbabwe Air Force
  • Lt General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, The Commander of the Army
  • Army Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba

Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi, Prisons Commissioner, has been removed
from the list.

Dell’Ariccia said the measures have not been de-listed, just suspended as a gesture of good will and the EU can review the measures anytime depending on the situation on the ground.

The state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Zimbabwe Defence Industries are the two companies that remain on the sanctions list.

The EU has been gradually easing sanctions on Zimbabwe as tactic to encourage reform ahead of elections.

Dewa Mavhinga, Senior Researcher, Africa Division, Human Rights Watch said: “This development is a diversion from the critical work of preparing for credible, free and fair elections which is likely to send the wrong message that all is well now in Zimbabwe, when in fact the human rights situation on the ground is far from improved.

“In fact the human rights situation has deteriorated in the past 6 months. Police, who are aligned to ZANU-PF, have carried out attacks on civil society organizations working in the country including through harassment, arrests and raids on their offices.”

The Human Rights Watch officer said the most recent arrest is that of a prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa who was arrested for doing her work as a lawyer.

“The new constitution may seem strong on paper but it has not translated to improvements on the ground and the major problem in Zimbabwe is lack of constitutionalism. This move by the EU should have been benchmarked on credible elections, not on referendum, it merely rewards ZANU PF and its allies for their repression,” Mavhinga said.

In her declaration on behalf of the European Union, the High Representative of the European Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Baroness Catherine Ashton, has stated that the “EU is concerned over the recent reports of intimidation and harassment against some political activists and civil society representatives” and that “the EU urges all leaders to ensure that their commitment to peace and transparency are respected by all groups and services of the security authorities at both the national and local levels”.

Ambassador Dell’Ariccia was speaking in London where an international group calling itself ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’ is meeting to discuss cooperation with Zimbabwe, as the country prepares for make or break elections this year.

Representatives of major development partners and several foreign ministers from all over the world, plus members of the diplomatic community from Harare are set to hold re-engagement talks on Tuesday with the Zimbabwe government’s lead negotiators, ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa, MDC’s Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and MDC-T’s Elton Mangoma.

Chinamasa’s official visit to London will be his first since sanctions were imposed on members of the ZANU PF party by the EU over a decade ago. The Justice Minister is reported on NewZimbabwe.Com saying he will use the meetings with the British government to demand that all sanctions be lifted
unconditionally and ask for Britain’s help to shut down SW Radio Africa which broadcasts into Zimbabwe from London.