Zimbabwe denies working to impose travel sanctions

HARARE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party denied media reports on Sunday that it was drawing up a list of critics who will be banned from travelling abroad under a new tough law passed by his government.

ZANU-PF used its two-thirds parliamentary majority

last week to approve changes that will allow the government to effectively nationalise formerly white-owned farms and impose travel bans on “traitors”.

The Standard newspaper reported on Sunday the government was working on a list of politicians and human rights activists who will face travel sanctions.

The weekly, quoting official sources, said the list was being drawn up by ZANU-PF’s information department led by former foreign affairs minister Nathan Shamuyarira.

It said the list is headed by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and includes former information minister Jonathan Moyo, who has fallen out with ZANU-PF and is now an independent member of parliament.

Shamuyarira was unavailable for comment on Sunday, but Zimbabwe’s acting Information Minister Chen Chimutengwende denied the government had or was working on such a list.

“That is absolute rubbish. There is nothing like that happening at the moment,” he told Reuters.

“You cannot tell in advance who is going to get affected because it (the law) will not apply in retrospect,” he said.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi said it was only a matter of time before the law was put into effect.

“It is common knowledge that this law is designed to cripple the opposition,” he said.

“The very fact that they passed such a draconian law with such a chilling effect confirms that ZANU-PF has become a classic dictatorship,” he added.

Zimbabwe’s relations with the West are at an all-time low with Harare accused by many of human rights abuses.

Zimbabwe is struggling with a deepening economic crisis characterised by fuel, food and foreign currency shortages, which many critics blame on mismanagement by Mugabe’s 25-year-old government.

Mugabe, 81, says the economy is being sabotaged by foreign and domestic opponents trying to oust him over his nationalist policies, including the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks. — Reuters