Tuesday, March 26, 2013

81 Zimbabwean Officials Struck Off European Union Sanctions List: Move Dismissed As 'Tokenism'

81 struck off EU sanctions list . . . move dismissed as ‘tokenism’

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 00:11
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe, himself the face of the country remains a victim of the illegal sanctions. This therefore means the country is still under those illegal measures.

Hebert Zharare and Farirai Machivenyika

THE European Union was yesterday blasted for tokenism after it removed 81 individuals and eight companies from its illegal sanctions list and maintained the embargoes on 10 influential people, among them President Mugabe, the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, service chiefs and the war veterans’ leader.

The bloc maintained its embargoes on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, the mainstay of the economy, and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries in a clear assault on the country’s economic and defence pillars.

Other individuals retained on the list are Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, ZNA Chief of Staff Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Central Intelligence Organisation Director-General Happyton Bonyongwe and Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Cde Jabulani Sibanda.

The bloc said it would soon release a comprehensive statement explaining reasons for keeping the 10 on the sanctions list and why 81 others and companies were struck off the list.

Cde Mutasa, who is also Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, said the decision by Brussels to retain the sanctions on President Mugabe and service chiefs among other senior officials was a continued attack on Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

“It is a real attack on Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and independence . . . that is what the sanctions are all about. They are attacking not only our sovereignty, but also our economy.

“I am not surprised (by the EU’s decision) they can keep any of our leadership (on sanctions) but we are not going to relent on our mission for self determination.”

“They know that the sanctions are hurting our economy so this process is a very big decoy. Instead of telling us
that they hurt the economy, they are telling us they hurt individuals.

“I was in Mutare recently and there is no industry to talk of anymore and the situation is the same in other parts of the country because of these illegal sanctions that is why we want them to be removed in their entirety,” Cde Mutasa said.

Some of the prominent Zanu-PF senior officials whose travel bans were suspended include Vice President Joice Mujuru, Minister of State for State Security Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Home Affairs co-Minister Kembo Mohadi.

Media, Information and Publicity permanent secretary Mr George Charamba said: “The Government is still studying the position of the EU, but speaking as someone who is familiar with the issue, I do not think that anyone can attach any significance to this act of tokenism. Does it matter that tens of officials have been suspended from an illegal measure when in fact President Mugabe himself, the face of the country, remains a victim of those illegal measures? What it means is that the country is still under those illegal sanctions.”

In a statement yesterday, the EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton, said the suspension of travel bans on the 81 individuals stemmed from the outcome of the referendum.

“Recognising the importance of the referendum and the adoption of a new constitution as a major step along this road, the EU in line with its commitment to suspend a majority of remaining restrictive measures, has today agreed to immediately suspend the application of measures against 81 individuals and eight entities.

“The EU welcomes and supports the repeated calls for national reconciliation and peaceful political activity made by political leaders, including the President (Mugabe) and the Prime Minister and acknowledges the commitment by all parties to a peaceful transparent and credible electoral process,” Lady Ashton said.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, EU Counsellor for Political Affairs Mr Carl Skau said the full list of the 81 individuals and eight entities removed from the list would be made public before the end of the week.

On the issue of the elections, he said the EU would welcome any party elected in a credible election but said it was Zimbabwe’s decision to invite observers of its choice to participate in the polls.

“We have taken heed of the Foreign Affairs Minister’s (Simbarashe Mumbengegwi’s) statements (on Western observers). It is for the Zimbabwean authorities to determine who they wish to invite to observe their elections. We have always indicated our readiness to come if the invitation comes,” Mr Skau said.

Last month the EU suspended travel bans on Cdes Webster Shamu (Media, Information and Publicity), Herbert Murerwa (Lands and Rural Resettlement), Walter Mzembi (Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Sithembiso Nyoni (Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development), Francis Nhema (Environment and Natural Resources Management) and Sylvester Nguni (Minister of State in Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Office).

Minister Mumbengegwi and his Justice and Legal Affairs counterpart Patrick Chinamasa, who are on the EU- Zimbabwe re-engagement dialogue team, had their travel bans removed last year.

The re-engagement team that left Harare on Sunday arrived in London yesterday ahead of the meeting today. Other members of the re-engagement team are Mr Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Mrs Pricilla Misihairabwi- Mushonga (MDC).

Although Minister Chinamasa and Mr Mangoma could not be reached on their phones yesterday, Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they arrived in London well and were ready for the meeting today.

“We have just arrived here (yesterday) for tomorrow (today)’s meeting. There is nothing much I say today, let us wait for tomorrow (today),” she said.

The Zimbabwe ministerial team was invited by the British Parliamentary Under–Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Mark Simmonds.

However, the British government’s sincerity to today’s talks came under the spotlight on Sunday after a communiqué London prepared way before the meeting was leaked to the Press.

The 10 point communiqué was released by Friends of Zimbabwe.

By their nature, communiqués are brief reports or outcomes of some deliberations undertaken and cannot be prepared before such deliberations.

The Zimbabwe-Britain meeting today is expected to involve representatives from countries that have been hostile to Zimbabwe that include Canada, United States of America, Australia and some members of the EU.

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