UK targets army officials for sanctions

United Kingdom (UK) minister of Africa Harriett Baldwin has said her country is not considering removing sanctions on Zimbabwe, as it contemplates widening the embargo list to include officials in the army, following a recent crackdown on civilians by members of the security forces.

Speaking before the International Development Committee, which was making an inquiry into the Zimbabwe situation as well as exploring steps that the UK can take in assisting the people of Zimbabwe, Baldwin, said actually her government was looking at increasing the number of individuals who are on the targeted list.

“The process of rolling up the EU (European Union) sanctions has come up and the UK has been arguing that it is not yet time for us to allow those to expire. And I think since the recent developments … we think there might be a case for widening it to include further individuals.

“We have been aware that the president has said that heads will roll, we haven’t seen any specific heads rolling, but that might be a good example of the kinds of people who could then be further extended and we could include in the sanctions regime,” Baldwin said, adding that the sanctions are targeted at specific individuals.

Zimbabwe has been calling for the removal of sanctions, claiming they have been inhibiting growth and significantly affecting the country’s economy in a negative way.

The country has been living in isolation for nearly two decades after the former president Robert Mugabe cut ties with the international community at the turn of the new millennium.

This was after he embarked on a bloody land reform programme that resulted in western countries including the UK and the US, imposing an economic embargo on Zimbabwe.

However, the western world had expressed goodwill to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government since Mugabe’s resignation in November 2017, hoping he would depart from his predecessor’s policies and respect human and property rights.

However, post-election violence, which saw the death of at least six people as well as the recent protests where 12 people were killed changed the narrative and the western world’s stance on Zimbabwe.

The recent developments where reports of rape, murder and torture of civilians by members of the security forces were raised, necessitated the International Development Committee to hold an urgent discussion on the situation in Zimbabwe.

“The International Development Committee is holding an urgent evidence session on the situation in Zimbabwe. Following the recent violent crackdown by Zimbabwe’s security forces, this session allows the Committee to explore how the UK and DFID (Department for International Development) in particular, should respond.

“The Committee will first hear from a panel of academic experts before then questioning the minister for Africa, Harriet Baldwin MP, and the head of DFID Zimbabwe,” the organisation said about the discussion.

At least five people were called to give evidence on the situation and proffer recommendations on how the UK government can respond.

Some of the members that gave evidence are Jocelyn Alexander, professor of Commonwealth Studies at the University of Oxford, Stephen Chan, professor of Politics and International Studies at SOAS at University of London, Simukai Chigudu, an associate professor of African Politics at University of Oxford, and Annabel Gerry, head of Department for International Development South Africa and Zimbabwe.

These panellists, however, said nothing had significantly changed in Zimbabwe, compared to the Mugabe regime, as the system was still intact. They further said Zanu PF was a system and individual changes did not mean anything to this complex organisation.

The group said there was need for the UK to assist the people of Zimbabwe through providing sustainable projects as well as funding key sectors like health and education, adding that most people are now living under the poverty datum line.


    Comments (7)

    But surely in which country in the world where a responsible Government can allow a handful of people to enjoy freedom to the expense of the majority? Can the British government allow a few individuals to destroy properties killing policeman and burning of other peoples' cars to happen? Many went without food for the days these viloence were taking place beause no one could open his shop fearing for his life from those few misguided elements. So what the british govt is saying is that the Zimbabwe govt should leave people disturbing other peoples' freedoms free. In other words they are saying those people were doing the right thing by destroying other peoples' businesses. What a shame of democracy.

    shunguhadziurayi - 6 February 2019

    I agree 100% with the comment made by shunguhadziurayi. I am a victim of the pre 2000 food and transport riots that assured in the MDC as a political party after the often violent demonstrations in 1998/1999. I had just been issued with a brand new Mazda SDX Double Cab vehicle by my employers when was caught up in a riotous demonstration just after Nyatsime College on my way to collect a sick relative from the Makoni Police Station Complex along the main road. The demonstrators started stoning my car which was brand new and I almost got killed and the vehicle was a complete write-off. My employers were disappointed and up to now I have a phobia for crowds a get so scared as it reminds me of this dreadful day. The NGO's the British Government never say anything about those of us who lost property and were left maimed by demonstrators instead their institutions started funding the opposition parties benefiting from destroying my property. The insurance refused to pay for the car since riots were excluded from the policy. Why are we not talking about the pain being suffered by those who had their shops looted and lost property. Its amazing how this thing called democracy cares about demonstrators and say nothing about their victims. If you want to demonstrate then do it peacefully why burn tyres to prevent others who dont agree with you to also enjoy their rights and go to work if they want to. The next time demonstrators try to destroy my property again I as a citizen will shoot them on sight in defense of my Human Rights. Please let us protect all citizens and not just demonstrators.

    Kufahakurotwi - 6 February 2019

    Tendai Kamhungira - I take it you and the Daily News crew are all based in Zim? I see you're excited about the possibility of additional sanctions - enjoy them when they do come! I can tell you one thing though- until Zimbabweans learn that sanctions hurt the ordinary man on the street more than they hurt govt officials, the suffering will continue. Good luck - I'm not in Zim.

    Buns Tinobvinex - 7 February 2019

    Sanction them and their Children as well. These people have killed many people and destroyed many lives.... What kind of a government allows soldiers to shoot unarmed civilians, women were raped and people beaten by Soldiers... All those that are against santions can go hang!! #Chamisachetechete

    Inini - 7 February 2019

    Any sanctions that will force behaviour change for the better by the cruel rulers is welcome. If they can't distinguish between right or wrong why are they in "power"? Those who support them are equally cruel and culpable. If they are living abroad (like #buns) they must be deported back to Zimbabwe so that they support the "rulers" on the ground. Put your money where your mouth is, they say. Who feels it knows it.

    Sagitarr - 7 February 2019

    Is there any difference between the UK and Zimbabwe ?. A lot of people will be happy living under that regime like Mr Hamilton. I want to renounce British Citizenship in few months time....i cant stand dictatorship in any form....esp the un elected.

    I am Zulu , get me out of here - 7 February 2019

    I am happy to come for holidays but in the EU , awesome country drives in France , Switzerland , Romania etc...good for a Ferrari. Can't do that in the UK...which has because too authoritarian , is colonial faced , reward for success and I am not an Arabian prince.

    Fairview - 7 February 2019

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