EU urged to wait for real reforms before lifting Zim ‘sanctions’

EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia

By Alex Bell
04 February 2013

The European Union (EU) is being urged to wait for real reforms in Zimbabwe before they consider lifting the targeted restrictive ‘sanctions’ in place against the Mugabe regime.

The leadership bloc has indicated it will consider lifting all the measures after the completion of a ‘credible’ constitutional referendum. The political parties in the coalition government have finally agreed on a draft constitution, bringing the almost four year process to an end.

The EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell’ Ariccia, has been quoted as saying last week that this is a step in the right direction.

“The EU stated that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would justify a suspension of the majority of all restrictive measures,” he said, adding: “In this context, the recent agreement on the Constitution draft is a welcome step in that direction.”

The EU last year suspended some of its restrictive measures, which are targeted against key individuals within ZANU PF and companies linked to the regime. The Europeans had said the partial relaxing of the measures was as a result of “progress.”

But there is serious criticism of this position, because of a lack of real change on the ground. The reforms promised by the Global Political Agreement (GPA) have not happened, human rights defenders continue to be targeted with intimidation and arrest, and there are worrying indications of a potentially violent election this year.

At the same time, the EU is basing its decision on a referendum of a constitution that analysts have said is fundamentally flawed, with some human rights being ignored. The enshrining of the death penalty into law is just one area the EU should be protesting, but they have made no mention of this or the fact that a hangman has finally been appointed in Zimbabwe to ensure this constitutional law is protected.

Dennis Benton from the London based pressure group the Zimbabwe Vigil said Monday that Europe’s position is suspicious. He told SW Radio Africa that the “EU seems desperate top engage with Zimbabwe on any terms,” saying it is no accident that European officials paint the Zim situation with a “positive gloss.”

“They are desperately keen to get rid of sanctions and vie with the Chinese in terms of commercial interests,” Benton said.

The Vigil has for years been pressuring the EU to stand by its restrictive ‘sanctions’ until there is evidence of real change, and Benton said that this should include waiting until after an election. He said international observers and real reforms need to be evident before there is even talk of lifting the measures.

The US ambassador in Zimbabwe meanwhile has reportedly expressed fear of another stolen election this year. Ambassador David Bruce Wharton, quoted by the Sunday Mail, cited the presence of government troops across the country and a campaign of intimidation against civil rights advocates by ZANU PF.

“We are concerned by the deployment of Zimbabwe Defence Forces throughout the country on nominal ‘administrative service’ duty who may seek to influence how community will vote,” he told the newspaper.

He added: “We are also concerned that elements of the state have commenced with a concerted campaign to intimidate civil society and that the state-run media and various other state institutions show a consistent pattern of bias in favour of one particular party.”

To contact this reporter email alex@[email protected] or follow on Twitter



19 Responsesto “EU urged to wait for real reforms before lifting Zim ‘sanctions’”

  1. Ken Girtz says:

    Its a long road to irrelevance. Make no mistake, the Vigil people are firmly on it. Not surprisingly, nothing will please them on Zimbabwe.

    • wilbert_mukori says:

      If there was a free media in Zimbabwe, millions of Zimbabweans would be saying the same thing the Vigil people are saying. You deny the people a voice and then claim only you know what they want! Let the people speak!

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        I am sure you are level headed and not like this piece of s…t – GBZ whose offensive articles always get the protection of SW Radio Africa from the chop. Let me be nice to you Wilbert and tell you right now that there is no such thing called free media in any part of the world. All news outlets out there project an image geared at controlling the mind-set of its audience. It is all about power and control of the mind and nothing more, mate.

        • GBZ says:

          Hook, Line and Sinker! Gotcha!

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            You can be assured I am not the kind of person who merely accepts wholesale an idea or set of beliefs without a critical examination and reflection of these. This is what I do everyday before I put my thoughts in black and white and no one can teach the converted, you know.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Europe wants to lift sanctions in order to gain a little trade to benefit a few. In the meantime another election will be stolen. But even if the opposition won, it would be toppled by an army and a police force that has no inclination to serve anybody else than uncle Bob.

    • GBZ says:

      I hope no one lifts sanctions and the gives the STOLEN BILLIONS back to the country, not to the slobs that stole it! The strength of the vote is going to overwhelm the consideration of a coup, and whats the bet mugs and co will be absent at the result. I believe there may be someone in the wings watching whats going on, and let me make this prediction that if the elections are in any way free and fair I believe zpf will not win one seat in any house.
      Ouch that hurt! Ok Chimps have your go at me now…He He He

  3. Anonymous says:

    Without proper preparation of referendum and election , no lifting of sunctions against Mugabe.

  4. wilbert_mukori says:

    The referendum has already failed the credibility test. This government has deliberately denied the people a free public media and kept the muzzle on the tiny private media with oppressive laws like AIPPA and POSA so there is no freedom of expression and free flow of ideas.How can people make an meaningful vote on an issue they have been deliberately kept ignorant of. The people would never approve a constitution that denies them their right to a free vote and the right to life itself! But they would if they do not know!

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      I have to be nice to you lest my article is not published as many others in the past that have been deleted by SW Radio Africa because I had said what they did not want to hear. Let me tell you right now Wilbert that the Herald of Zimbabwe is no different from the Times, Tribunal, Mail, Guardian, the New York Times and other so-called major news outlets of the world. All these news outlets project the image of their governments and all attempt to control the mind-set of the people. Just take a close look at the following news clip that I am quoting verbatim from the New York Times about the former Secretary of the United States, Hillary Clinton and tell the readership your views of it.

      ”Hillary takes vitamins, drinks tons of water, reads for pleasure (when?), eats hot chilli peppers, and washes her hands, by her own admission, ”all the time”. She also like plenty of us, ‘undaunted in my quest to amuse myself by constantly changing my hair’. Don’t you love that? As Hillary Clinton herself says, ‘If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle’. For Hillary, the hair is armour, too: ”I wish I were taller and thinner” she says ”but the hair you can do something about”. It is this combination of human foibles and tough talk that gives Hillary the edge, and could well propel her into the White House come 2016. She has queues of admirers and a huge, well-oiled fundraising machine. Her approval ratings are already ”through the roof”.

      • Alex Bell says:

        We only delete comments with bad language not because of their content. Everyone is welcome to their opinions.

      • GBZ says:

        Now I am convimced beyond any shadow of doubt! You are a NUT JOB! What a load of BULL CRAP!

        • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

          If I tell you what I think of you, my article will not be published by SW Radio Africa for the simple reason that what I say at times is exactly the opposite they want to hear. If I had said what you have said of my person, my article will simply not be published or if has been, it will be deleted. We agreed to disagree and not to bother each other sometime ago but you simply can not resist reading my work. Just leave me in peace and let me exercise my right to self-expression, jakalasi. Ok?

  5. Mutongi Gava says:

    Make your own bed and lie on it….face the consequences of your 32years of brutality and chaotic administrative policies, let alone stolen plebiscites.

  6. Common Sense says:

    Compare this to the way the Revolutionary Peoples Herald reported this, they said EU sanctions ‘to go’ http://tinyurl.com/auhr2f6

    • wilbert_mukori says:

      The Herald is the dominant print media and all it has to say on this and all other matters is what Mugabe wants the people to hear and no other point of view.

      The Ambassador must have noticed the deafening silence on the air waves on the referendum. Mugabe does not want any questions or discussions; you would hear more lively debates on what name to give to a street in Europe than Zimbabweans have had on this new constitution!

      Ambassador; there is only one TV station and one radio station in Zimbabwe with a population of 13 million because the regime has stubbornly refused to issue licenses to anyone else! PM Tsvangirai, Mugabe’s main challenger in the coming elections, has yet to appear
      on ZBC TV once even after five years in the GNU!

      If this is a credible way of running a referendum then it must be because you have such a low opinion of the people of Zimbabwe; whilst you would condemn this if it happened in Europe, you nonetheless approve as more than good enough, excellent, for Zimbabweans!

  7. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    Zimbabweans should never think any European or American except a few African-American, has any assistance they can offer to our country. All their actions and behaviors against Zimbabwe is all about preserving their political and economic agendas or interests. They no longer get our human and natural resources they used to plunder for a song for hundreds years and now it has become almost impossible to access these without a fight. It is a fight they may engage in militarily as what they are now doing in Mali, Syria, Libya, Uganda where the US is setting up military bases around the oil-fields of this country and other trouble sports of the world to control resources they do not have in their own countries, in particular petroleum and uranium. Zimbabwe with its huge uranium deposits, diamonds, platinum, gold, copper these bullies do not have, ‘Beware the ides of March’ and prepare yourself for a possible onslaught. I hope I not causing alarm and despondence because an excuse is already there for these bullies to intervene in the name of preserving human rights and dignity in Zimbabwe which they do not practise in their own countries. I know I am sticking my neck on a block of wood for them to strike a fatal blow at me, but that is true. Chimbwidos Warvets is the truth.

    • GBZ says:

      I rest my case!

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        You are enjoying reading my work, is it not? Just read and share it with your friends for a change because it is true. And I am about to write real stuff now and unstoppable. It is not about licking the boots of anyone but to bring the truth to the fore, mate. Why don’t you tell SW Radio Africa to stop this business of commenting if this is too much for you to handle. I am sure, you can only hear what you want to hear when you are in heaven and not on mother earth where there is too much evil going on.

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