THE European Union (EU) has included a number of prominent Zimbabwean officials regarded as associates of President Robert Mugabe’s regime on its revised list of those subject to its travel b
an. The move comes ahead of its key foreign ministers meeting in Brussels next week.
Diplomatic sources said this week names on the extended list of persons banned from entering the 15-member bloc’s territory are – barring last-minute changes – likely to include Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, Electoral Supervisory Commission chair Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, new Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association chair Jabulani Sibanda, and Media and Information Commission chair Tafataona Mahoso.
Provincial governors who were previously omitted would now be included on the list which has grown from 72 to 90 people. The list includes Mugabe and his wife Grace, ministers, deputy ministers, politburo members of the ruling Zanu PF, and security chiefs.
Also included are Information department permanent secretary George Charamba, secretary to the president and cabinet Misheck Sibanda and his predecessor Charles Utete, and Special Affairs senior secretary Willard Chiwewe.
Sources said the list would be revisited again following the cabinet reshuffle this week.
“The new list has four new prominent people in their personal capacities and governors who were previously not included,” a source said. “It will be revised again because of the cabinet reshuffle. Those who have died will be taken off, while former ministers will remain banned from the EU.”
The sources said the secretariat of the European Commission was currently working on the list on advice from EU heads of mission based in Harare. They said the EU could not include business executives on its list, as the Americans have done, “because it is difficult to classify businessmen in terms of their political affiliation”.
The EU imposed travel sanctions on Mugabe’s regime in February 2002 due to repression and human rights abuses associated with elections and the chaotic land reform programme.