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Zim to press for sanctions removal

ZIMBABWE wants a complete removal of sanctions without any conditionality by the European Union (EU) because of the progress government says it has made in implementing the global political agreement (GPA), a cabinet minister said this week.

Regional Integration and International Cooperation minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga told the Zimbabwe Independent before leaving for Brussels on Tuesday that the meetings today with EU officials would seek to clarify issues raised by the bloc on the lack of progress in implementing the GPA.

She, however, said they were not going to Brussels to beg or behave like “schoolchildren”, but would merely state achievements made so far by the inclusive government and the vision they have to improve the economy.

“We are not doing what we are doing to get approval from the EU or for the EU to say good girls and boys, but we are doing it for ourselves – this is for our society and the society we want to build,” she Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

“We are not going there to be like schoolchildren; we are going there to say this is the society we would want to build. We will ask them if they want our partnership as is in the Cotonou Agreement. If they want then we will all of us define what kind of partnership we should have.”

The government delegation, which also includes Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and led by Energy minister Elton Mangoma, will meet with EU Foreign policy tsar Baroness Ashton, director-general for development Stefano Manservisi, and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.

“We have agreed on a common position – we want the sanctions to be completely removed, Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

“We know the general issues that the EU has raised. We are going to deal with these issues. We are going to clarify issues raised and talk about the progress we have made so far.”

“We will tell them this is a process and there is never a time when we can reach 100% implementation. But what we have done is indicative of the progress made and our commitment. We have made progress –– we will talk about freedom of information and the commissions we have set up.”

Government has set up a Zimbabwe Media Commission which has now licensed four dailies, Alpha Media Holdings’ NewsDay, Modus Publications’ Daily Gazette, and ANZ’s Daily News which was shut down by the government in 2003 for allegedly violating provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
ZMC has also given the green light to the Mail and to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to change the frequency of its publication, The Worker, from a monthly to a weekly.

In addition to the media commission, the government has also set up a Human Rights Commission chaired by Reg Austin, a law professor and former Commonwealth secretariat’s head of legal and constitutional affairs division; and an electoral commission headed by Simpson Mutambanengwe, a former Zimbabwean Supreme Court judge, who was serving as acting chief justice in the Namibian Supreme Court.

It has also embarked on the constitution-making process, which has so far been marred by chaos, confusion, and violence.
The EU re-engagement dialogue process was launched by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last June.
The meetings will be held under the Cotonou Agreement, which is a comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for providing EU aid for development cooperation in ACP (Africa/Caribbean/Pacific) states under the agreement.

The Zimbabwe delegation hopes to convince the EU through its body language, which it says would show that there is harmony within government.

In February the EU renewed its sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year, citing lack of progress in implementing the power-sharing agreement.

The three political parties are still to agree on the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and provincial governors, the swearing-in of Deputy Agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett, security reforms and opening up of airwaves, among other issues.

 

Faith Zaba

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