Sanctions set for extension

THE European Union (EU) is scheduled to meet in a fortnight to review targeted sanctions imposed on President Robert and his inner circle amid indications that the measures will be extended for a further year.

Herbert Moyo

Sources privy to the developments say the EU has been holding wide-ranging consultations over the issue with local and international stakeholders and the general consensus is that the Zanu PF government has done very little since controversially winning elections last July to warrant a suspension or removal of the sanctions.

“Locally they (EU) have met with civil society organisations and consensus is building that there has been little movement by the Zanu PF governance in resolving a host of governance issues including implementing the new constitution,” said a diplomatic source.

But EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia dismissed suggestions his organisation was consulting political parties and civil society. “At present I am not at liberty to say how the process will go because these internal consultations are still underway among EU states,” Dell’Ariccia said in a telephone interview with this paper on Wednesday.

He said the EU would be taking cognisance of the developments in the country since the last review in 2013, which resulted in the removal of some individuals and companies from the sanctions list after the violence-free constitutional referendum in which the new governance charter was overwhelmingly endorsed by voters in March.

Asked what it would take for the measures to be lifted, Dell’Ariccia said it would entail resolving “all those issues which led to the measures to be introduced in 2002.

“The measures were introduced due to a serious degeneration in human rights and rule of law. It was not because of the land reform as some believe but rather the accompanying human rights violations,” he said.

The lifting of all remaining measures is seen as vital to unlocking lines of credit to finance the latest ambitious economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Social and Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) which government hopes is a panacea to the country’s economic woes.