Mugabe must admit failure

HARARE - Recent moves by the European Union (EU) Parliament towards the imposition of further restrictive measures on President Robert Mugabe’s government, owing to its torture of human rights defenders and abductions of pro-democracy activists should not be surprising at all.

The move is in stark contrast to the United States which last week lifted sanctions on some Zimbabwean companies and ex-spouses of Zanu PF bigwigs.

The EU Parliament cited government’s failure to act in accordance to international human rights principles and laws as well as failure to respect freedom of assembly, association and expression.

We have shouted our voices hoarse previously that Mugabe’s government — which embarked on re-engagement efforts with the West in the past few years — does not respect the rule of law and property rights.

The controversial Indigenisation Act has not done the country any good. Since the July 2013 elections, Zimbabwe has witnessed the erosion of the semblance of stability the government of national unity had afforded the country with the record closure of industries that has thrown thousands onto the streets.

The brutal clampdown on rights and pro-democracy groups voicing their concern over the worsening economic rot is evidence that Mugabe and his cronies are not prepared to let go.

Government’s use of repressive State apparatus in dealing with dissent is in itself an affront on the people’s rights. Several protesters have been bludgeoned, arrested,  detained by police and yet all they were doing was showing disapproval of the deteriorating living standards in the country.

There is no way Mugabe can shift the blame. It lies with him. His failed 36-year reign has been characterised by populist policies that have ruined resource-rich Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, corruption seems to have been institutionalised with the anti-graft body — the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission — having been disarmed.

Potential investors have taken flight, opting to put their money in countries not very far from our borders because of favourable policies there.

The country’s cockpit team is obviously bereft of policy ideas, choosing instead to engage in vicious factional fights within their ruling Zanu PF, no serious investor would consider Zimbabwe as a possible destination. Clearly, Mugabe and his colleagues have failed to turn around the fortunes of the country and their re-engagement overtures cannot be taken seriously.

Mugabe simply has to admit he has failed and pass the baton to someone with fresh ideas that may pull us out of the current abyss.

Zimbabweans are still to taste freedoms that independence promised but have been postponed for reasons of political expediency by Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies.

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