By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
5 August 2014
Ben Freeth, a former commercial farmer and an activist, has reignited debate over the European Union’s support of President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
Freeth, who is now the spokesperson for the SADC Tribunal Rights Watch group, has also strongly criticised the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, for his continued support for the regime in Harare.
The EU envoy was blasted last month for his comments in which he said there was no leadership crisis in the country. He also criticised NGOs in Zimbabwe, describing them as AGOs, anti-government organisations.
While the EU said Dell’Ariccia had been misreported, Freeth personally sought comment from the ambassador who repeated that he did not believe there is a leadership crisis in Zimbabwe.
‘While he (Dell’Ariccia) distanced himself from some of the comments he is reported to have made he nonetheless told me there would be ‘blood on the streets’ if there was a leadership crisis,’ said Freeth
Freeth recently wrote a letter to the UK vigil supporting their stance to have Dell’Ariccia recalled over his comments, saying it is clear that a leadership crisis continues to exist in Zimbabwe.
‘Our leaders continue to lead our country dictatorially against international law; our leaders ignore international agreements like the Abuja Agreement; our leaders ignore bilateral investment treaties and take over private property – so that almost nobody wants to invest their money in Zimbabwe to rebuild its shattered economy.
‘Our leaders ignore international conventions like the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination; our leaders ignore international treaties like the SADC Treaty and the SADC Tribunal – and in the ‘Zanufication’ of SADC they managed to get the SADC Tribunal closed down,’ wrote Freeth.
He continued: ‘‘We have seen genocide under our current leaders where 20,000 civilians, many of them women and children, were brutally murdered; we have seen Murambatsvina where 700,000 homes were callously destroyed by our current leaders; we have seen land invasions under our current leaders where over 300,000 people lost their livelihoods.’