Govt must embrace EU gesture

HARARE - Ruling Zanu PF government should capitalise on the positive pronouncements coming from the European Union, EU, top diplomats based in Harare who have promised to remove the infamous sanctions on Zimbabwe by November this year.

The diplomats said the 28-nation EU bloc has decided to answer Zimbabwe government’s call for re-engagement.

Laurent Delahousse, the Ambassador of France in Zimbabwe told delegates gathered in Harare on Monday during the occasion of France’s Bastille Day that on November 1 this year, provided everything goes well, the EU will resume its direct co-operation with the Government of Zimbabwe, and the European Development Fund will start assisting in the implementation of ZimAsset.

Earlier, the EU delegation ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia while addressing participants at the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Programming Exercise Consultative Workshop in Harare said year (2014) would see the completion of the last step in the normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and EU.

The EDF is the main instrument for EU aid for development co-operation in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP Group) countries and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT).

Dell’Ariccia said the European Council had unanimously decided that considering that there are no major disruptions to the democratic process in Zimbabwe, on November 1, 2014 the restrictive measures would be completely removed.

This indication coming from such EU top diplomats should not be taken lightly by the Zanu PF government as this is a window of opportunity to revive the country’s fortunes.

The Zanu PF government should not be complacent to such news and just wait for November to come. They should busy themselves and mount a vigorous lobbying campaign towards total implementation of the aforementioned EU promises.

As we move towards November, it is time for Mugabe and his officials to desist from their vitriol attacks against the EU bloc.

While Mugabe has in the recent past taken time during State functions to rebuke the EU over the Western imposed sanctions which he deems illegal, the period his government is entering needs some bit of softening on his part.

It is time for dialogue with the EU, and this should be serious business with spirited negotiations by fairly sober-minded government diplomats so that this “sanctions” issue is dealt with once and for all.

Such preparatory meetings between the Zanu PF government and EU will in the long run pave way for Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the donor community and the private sector.

Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa has already indicated Zimbabwe’s positive move towards November as he has reportedly drafted a National Indicative Programme (NIP), which will guide co-operation between the EU and Zimbabwe.

And there is a lot the country will benefit from the EU-Zimbabwe ties.

The benefits are quite huge as Chinamasa summed up the expected financial package in published media reports:  “We in the Treasury have already started formulating an aid development architecture which we shall discuss with our counterparts in the EU.

Zimbabwe stands to benefit €234 million under the auspices of the National Indicative Programme. The monies will be distributed as follows: €88 million towards health, €88 million towards agriculture-based economic development, €45 million for governance and institution building, €6 million for measures in favour of civil society, €3 million towards the office of the National Authorising Officer’s Office and €4 million towards the Technical Co-operation Facility.”

The EU sanctions (as well as US, Canadian and Australian) on Zimbabwe were imposed in February 2002 soon after the country had embarked on the land reform programme aimed at correcting historical imbalances in the ownership of land. The 28-nation EU also imposed sanctions in protest at human rights abuses and violations of democracy.

The EU has been gradually easing the sanctions since 2012, and their complete elimination will help revive capital flow in the country. After several reviews, EU governments had decided to stick to their carrot-and-stick policy of gradual easing of sanctions with the aim of encouraging positive change in Zimbabwe while retaining some leverage over Mugabe to pursue reforms.

    Comments (2)

    EU must sacrifice for Zimbabwe the way our gallant freedom fighters did during the liberation struggle: otherwise removal of targeted sanctions is not enough.This is sovereign Zimbabwe & it will never be a colony again.

    reketayi - 21 July 2014

    Mr Assistant Editor the only person on the sanctions list is Mugabe himself. Do you know the meaning of the word infamous?

    saundy - 23 July 2014

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