Monday, September 14, 2009

Zimbabwe Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Blast European Union Troika

Chinamasa blasts EU troika

By Michael Padera
Zimbabwe Herald

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday took a swipe at the European Union delegation that was in Harare over the weekend as part of the Zimbabwe-EU dialogue, accusing them of undermining the inclusive Government by speaking on behalf of MDC-T.

Minister Chinamasa, one of the Zanu-PF negotiators in the talks that led to the formation of the inclusive Government, said the continued existence of illegal economic sanctions was also hurting the inclusive Government.

The statement by Minister Chinamasa comes on the heels of another accusation by President Mugabe that the EU was meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs by seeking the ouster of Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono and Attorney-Gene-ral Johannes Tomana.

Minister Chinamasa said the EU team regurgitated MDC-T positions during the meeting, which was also attended by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Regional Integra-tion and International Co-operation Deputy Minister Reuben Marumahoko.

"They seem to want to undermine the inclusive Government. They speak as much as MDC-T. They just swallow line, hook and sinker what the MDC-T says," he said.

Minister Chinamasa said while dialogue with the EU would continue, there was concern that the bloc had taken sides and is converting genuine common law cases of murder into issues of political violence.

He said the EU talked of violence, farm invasions and arrests of MDC-T members that did not reflect the situation on the ground.

The minister said the Zimbabwe delegation to the meeting had impressed on the EU team that dialogue should be held on the understanding that Zimbabwe, just like countries in the European Union, was a sovereign state.

He said Zimbabwe told the EU that assistance to Zimbabwe should be developmental rather than humanitarian.

"We appealed to them to lift economic sanctions. We do not want to continue to be a basket case where we are objects of charity and pity. We also appealed to them to move from humanitarian to development assistance," said Minister Chinamasa.

The EU team — led by Swedish Minister for International Development Co-operation Ms Gunilla Carlsson — set conditions for full re-engagement with Zimbabwe.

"We cannot fully re-engage if the Global Political Agreement is not fully implemented. The issue (removal) of the restrictive measures is decided at the EU. It is not up to Tsvangirai to take them away," she said.

She was responding to a question on whether Prime Minister Tsvangirai had the capacity to call for the removal of economic sanctions given that he had campaigned for their imposition.

Ms Carlsson called for the opening up of the media and a people-driven constitution-making process.

The Zimbabwe-EU dialogue, she said, would also address the issue of the sanctions.

Ms Carlsson described her earlier meetings with President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai as very frank and open.

EU commissioner for development and humanitarian assistance Mr Karel de Gucht said the EU had never stopped helping Zimbabwe and had this year alone committed US$90 million to the country.

He echoed Ms Carlsson’s sentiments on sanctions adding that they would not be removed immediately and that they should not be used as a condition for the dialogue between Zimbabwe and the EU.

He said President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai had committed themselves to the full implementation of the GPA.

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