By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
20 February 2014
A Member of the European Parliament has voiced concern over the decision by western powers to ease restrictive measures against Robert Mugabe’s key allies.
Geoffrey Van Orden, a prominent campaigner for freedom and democratic change in Zimbabwe within the European Parliament, commented on the EU measures and said: “There has been some movement in the right direction over the past year and this needs to be reinforced. However, there are still hundreds of incidents of human rights abuse each year and political freedom is constrained.
“The most recent elections were widely recognised as having been neither wholly democratic nor credible – despite being conducted in a relatively peaceful manner,” Van Orden said in a statement.
The MEP, who is banned from entering Zimbabwe, also criticised the EU’s decision to invite Mugabe to Brussels for the EU-Africa Summit in April.
He indicated that Mugabe should remain isolated, saying “real progress in Zimbabwe will not be made until Mugabe and those that hold on to his coat-tails have left power”.
Political analyst Joy Mabenge said the western bloc should use Mugabe’s present in Brussels to push him for more reforms.
“Like many Zimbabweans I believe the lifting of the targeted sanctions has more to do with the western powers’ economic interests rather than a belief that the ZANU PF government has improved anything on the ground,” Mabenge said.
On Thursday, rights campaigners the Zim Human Rights NGO Forum, said they were concerned about the EU’s plans to start channelling development aid directly through the ZANU PF government, from November 1st.
The group said there were worries within civil society organisations that the Zim government may use this to begin recriminations against the CSOs.
Mabenge said there was also the danger that millions of suffering Zimbabweans, who are currently reliant on donors for their survival, will be affected.
“The Zimbabwe government has proved to everyone that it cannot manage public finances let alone donor funding.
“The current corruption scandals prove the economy has collapsed, and there are absolutely no guarantees or measures in place to suggest that development aid will benefit deserving Zimbabweans,” Mabenge said.