Friday, 22 February 2013

ZANU-PF’s outburst at EU sanctions lifting a fore-warning that they will not guarantee a free and fair election

On Monday the European Union lifted a travel ban on 21 individuals
that includes six ZANU-PF ministers as well as one company. The target
based sanctions, imposed on Zimbabwe by the West at the height of the
land reform in the early 2000s, were mainly placed on Mugabe’s cronies
and their businesses. Over the years, since the signing of the Global
Political Agreement in 2009, have been eased and relaxed gradually
with the western nations reviewing whether to lift the sanctions
The latest lifting of the ban is attached with certain conditions,
chiefly the holding of peaceful free and fair elections. ZANU-PF,
instead of responding to the EU with a pledge of hosting free and fair
elections attacked them with vengeance.
“The decision by the EU to remove certain individuals and companies
from their illegal sanctions list is outrageous and preposterous.
ZANU-PF will never accept any conditional removal of the illegal
sanctions,” Rugare Gumbo, the ZANU-PF spokesman responded when asked
about this latest development. ZANU-PF wants an “unconditional and
total” lifting of the elections.
EU did not however remove sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation, keeping those measures at least until the conclusion of
the upcoming elections. The keeping of the sanctions on ZMDC is a
welcome measure considering that the company is responsible for
funding ZANU-PF in all its endeavors, including state-sponsored
violence against members of the former opposition, the MDCs. The
lifting of the ban on ZMDC was requested by Belgium, where Antwerp,
the world’s biggest diamond trading centre, is based, who pushed for
it to be freed from the sanctions ban.
ZMDC was given a grace period of at least a month after the elections
to see whether it can be fully rid of the sanctions by the EU. ZANU-PF
has, since the discovery of diamonds in the eastern province of
Manicaland been dependent on the revenues from diamonds to fund their
loyalists in their political rivalry against their fierce rivals, the
MDCs. They will not be affected by the EU’s refusal to lift sanctions
on ZMDC because the diamonds from ZMDC are still in demand in Asia and
thus, they are guaranteed more revenue for their state-sponsored and
target based violence against their rivals.
Whilst ZANU-PF may have dismissed the latest developments as
“outrageous and preposterous” it leaves one wondering what it is that
ZANU-PF really wants. In 2012 they sent their chief lawyer, Attorney
General Tomana to go and challenge the EU to lift the “illegal
sanctions” they imposed on Zimbabwe. Now that there is an impartial
lifting of the sanctions, they are still reluctant to accept such
developments because they still want the EU to remove them wholly
without them playing a part also.
The EU has demanded that ZANU-PF allow a free and fair election to
take place and this latest outburst on EU shows that they are not
willing to play along with the EU by guaranteeing a just and fair
election. Zimbabwe has a record of bloody and unjust elections and
since 2001, all the elections that have taken place in Zimbabwe are
nothing but a farce that have legitimized Mugabe’s hold on power at
the expense of the people. SADC have over the years certified these
elections as free and fair because they always succumb to Mugabe’s
Why is it that ZANU-PF does not wish to reciprocate to these measures
by EU? The EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dell’Ariccia assured ZANU-PF
that all these restrictive measures would be removed if the elections
are free and fair. Only through a peaceful free and fair will result
in “an immediate suspension of the majority of all remaining targeted
restrictive measures against individuals and entities,” Ambassador
Dell was quoted on Monday at a press briefing in Harare.  Since
independence, ZANU-PF are yet to guarantee Zimbabweans such conditions
for a free and fair election and thus all this noise is just a message
to the EU that unfortunately ZANU-PF cannot guarantee a free and fair
Such utterances are the last thing that Zimbabweans want to hear as we
are only weeks away from the constitution referendum, penciled for the
16th of March. Memories and wounds from the 2008 harmonised elections
are still fresh on the people of Zimbabwe. Everyone is aware that
ZANU-PF will not succumb to any pressure from anyone to host peaceful
elections if it means them losing their grip on Zimbabwe. They will do
everything in their means to ensure that their challengers will not
taste victory. 2008 is testimony to that.
Rugare Gumbo’s statements are not only addressed at the EU’s partial
lift on sanctions but to all their political foes in Zimbabwe as we
approach Election Day. The partial relax on the sanctions was
dismissed as nothing but plans by the West to further their economic
interests in Zimbabwe. ZANU-PF has for ages dismissed the MDC-T as a
puppet of the EU and such developments are just seen by ZANU-PF as an
attempt to appease the people to vote for the MDC-T now that there
sanctions are being relaxed, albeit gradually.
ZANU-PF fails to understand that the west will not remove sanctions
without any reforms because it is because of ZANU-PF’s autocratic rule
that brought these sanctions to Zimbabwe in the first place. The only
way in which the West will remove these sanctions is if ZANU-PF
reforms. The latest lifting of sanctions was brought about by
ZANU-PF’s part in the drafting of the constitutional draft. All the
countries that had placed Zimbabwe on sanctions were encouraged by
Zimbabwe hosting free and fair elections this year is a long short
because the conditions facing the country at present are the same
conditions we faced in 2008. The draconian laws such as POSA that give
ZANU-PF an unfair advantage over their rivals are still there. Most of
the reforms that were meant to be implemented at the signing of the
GPA are yet to be implemented and unless if their implemented before
June a repeat of 2008 is upon us. ZANU-PF have failed to guarantee
Zimbabwe a peaceful free and fair election, they are more concerned
with starting a verbal warfare with the EU than guaranteeing their own
people a just election for once.

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