More bad news for Zim, ED govt. . . as EU Parly proposes more punitive sanctions

HARARE-  Zimbabwe should brace for more problems after the European Union (EU) Parliament proposed a fresh round of punitive sanctions this week against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government, following a recent vicious crackdown against civilians by security forces.

This comes as the United Kingdom (UK) — which had until recently worked tirelessly to help Zimbabwe end decades of its frosty relations with Western powers — has said it is no longer willing to support Harare because of the alleged human rights violations.

It also comes as the EU is due to meet on Wednesday next week to review the sanctions which were slapped on ousted former president Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and a few government officials who include Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

Other officials still on the European sanctions list  include Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda, former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Happyton Bonyongwe and former police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri.

As part of at least 26 recommendations, the EU Parliament this week called on the European Council “to review its restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Zimbabwe, including those measures currently suspended, in the light of accountability for recent State violence”.

The EU MPs also said bluntly that the “continued attacks, hate speech, smear campaigns, acts of intimidation and harassment and … acts of torture” against innocent Zimbabweans and human rights defenders had undermined democracy in the country.

In that light, they urged “the international community, notably the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU), to give more active assistance to Zimbabwe to find a sustainable democratic solution to the current crisis”.

They also urged “neighbouring countries to comply with the provisions of international law and to protect those fleeing violence in Zimbabwe with the provision of asylum, especially in the short term”.

This comes after Zimbabwe was last month thrown into a ginormous crisis when angry protesters flooded the streets of Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns across the country, demonstrating against sharp fuel price hikes.

Property worth millions of dollars was also destroyed and looted in the mayhem which ensued, after tens of thousands of workers heeded the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ three-day strike call.

At the same time, security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown against the protesters, the opposition and civil society leaders — in a move which received wide condemnation in the country and around the world.

Rights groups also continue to report human rights abuses by security forces — including galling allegations that soldiers had raped women and girls during their much-condemned crackdown against innocent civilians.           

The EU parliamentarians also implored Mnangagwa to launch a thorough probe into the allegations levelled against the security forces, in addition to pulling the army away from high density suburbs.

They further called on Zimbabwean authorities “to undertake a prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigation into allegations of human riots violations and abuses, including rape and sexual violence by the security forces and to bring those responsible to justice”.

Apart from investigating and prosecuting security forces found to have committed the alleged crimes, the EU MPs also called on the government to implement the findings of the commission of inquiry which was chaired by former South Africa president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Mnangagwa appointed the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry to probe the deaths of at least six civilians who were killed on August 1 in Harare’s central business district, when the army used live ammunition to break ugly demonstrations which had rocked the capital.

Political analysts have said the post-July 30 election shootings, and the latest round of deaths from the January riots — as well as the vicious clampdown of dissenting voices in the country — had dented Mnangagwa’s image significantly, in addition to harming his chances of getting financial support from Western countries.

Last week, UK minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, also warned that they were mulling widening the sanctions against Mnangagwa’s government to include high-ranking military officials — in a move which was widely seen as dashing any last remaining hopes for the renewal of ties between Harare and London.

“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.

Mnangagwa, who was feted like a king when he replaced Mugabe in November 2017, initially lifted the mood of crisis-weary Zimbabweans who were hopeful at the time that he would turn around the country’s economic fortunes.

But his government’s efforts to revive the economy by introducing a slew of economic stabilisation measures — which have been widely rejected by ordinary people — have been blamed for causing civil unrest.

Meanwhile, and following criticism of his government’s handling of the recent protests, Mnangagwa has put in motion plans to launch a national dialogue, in a bid to end the country’s myriad problems.

The president has already held talks about talks with some of his rivals from last July’s presidential election, as part of his efforts to heal the ruling Zanu PF’s rift with the opposition ahead of the mooted national dialogue — which is being spearheaded by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).

However, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa — who has been brawling with the 76-year-old Zanu PF leader since the outcome of the July 30 poll — snubbed the meeting as he insists on having an independent arbiter for the talks.

Comments (7)

extended dambudziko hausati watanga uchanyatso apihwa masanction handiti wati mother of all demos ucharatidza simba remasoja #handei tione

g40 - 17 February 2019

What a bad news for Zimbabwe?Why only Zimbabwe for the whole Africa?May be Zimbabwe has committed crime that is more waste than any country in this continent and the world.Yes some of our blood brothers and sisters can celebrate but the true we are now coming poorer and poorer with no hope. Yes those of us who hurt in ourselves will see like victory but the true is the poverty continue knocking in our doors. It is a celebration without solution what will come next. The devil is within ourselves that we feeling happy the degrading of our living standard like we are only viewing the evens for distance. Poor son of the soil.

Voice - 17 February 2019

Stop justify MDCA's ruthlessness Daily news. Lets see if ED would suffer these sanctions. Pane here rimwe chete zvaro zuva rawakambonzwa kuti Mugabe akarara nezhara only because of sanctions aanga apuwa as individual? Those individuals are the key members who represent Zimbabwe as a whole which means Zimbabwe as a whole is sanctioned. Ignorant arrogance like you would celebrate this thinking it's a punishment to EDs government while forgetting the fact that those sanctioned individuals would never test the sour taste of these sanctions. Wake up from where ever you are sleeping and smile the coffee

chamboko - 18 February 2019

God bless Zimbabwe

ndini - 18 February 2019

Zimbabwe's biggest mistake was to accept terrorists as heroes in 1980.

Sinyo - 18 February 2019

The only sanctions Zimbabwe is suffering from is zanu pf

Kufandada - 18 February 2019

what a shame wat i dont understand is why cant this gvmnt just adhere to some of the democratic tenants like freedom of expression and not use the law to to further their political aims. People in Zim have suffered since ESAP TO PRESENT DAY countless economic policies have been rolled out but have not allieviated the peoples sufferring. African politicians are to sentimental and personal when it comes to international politics especially these so called revolutionary parties. Germany murdered 6million jews but as we speak germany does buissness with israel the israelis of course hurt but matured politically and saw that they needed germany inorder to fulfill given economic ambitions in their country,Japan was nuked by america but as of tdy wenever the korean peninsula erupts japan relies on america for military support vanodii kuti handei ku russia coz americans nuked us. This is the problem ye zanu yekuti gwara rehondo rinotaurwa nezvaro only to promote hate speach

nutty dread - 26 February 2019

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