Friday, 7 October 2016


The European Union (EU) Parliament wants President Robert Mugabe’s government slapped with fresh sanctions over torture of human rights defenders and abductions of pro-democracy activists.

This comes as Mugabe and his government are facing growing resistance from angry and fed up Zimbabweans who accuse them of ruining the once strong economy.
In its resolutions in Brussels last month, the EU Parliament said the government must act in accordance with international human rights principles and laws, including freedom of assembly, association and expression.

“(EU) Believes that the Council and Commission should carefully analyse the appropriateness of re-imposing certain restrictive measures, while making clear that these will be removed and that a package of assistance will be made available once Zimbabwe is clearly on the path towards democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and specifying, in particular, that assistance will be provided to support a free and fair electoral process and police reform,” said the EU Parliament in one of its resolutions.”

The call by the EU Parliament to slap Zimbabwe with new sanctions comes as Mugabe is facing the biggest challenge to his 36-year-rule, which the restive populace blame for the current economic rot.

Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained its independence from Britain in April 1980, is battling to save his long political career as citizen unrest escalates over the ever-deteriorating quality of life locally, which they blame squarely on his misrule.

But the increasingly frail nonagenarian has not taken lightly to the challenge to his power, unleashing the country’s security apparatus on the restive populace with devastating consequences — amid fears that the government may effect a State of Emergency to contain growing civil unrest.

The EU said it was wrong for Mugabe to clampdown on rights and pro-democracy groups who were staging peaceful demonstrations against his government.

“(EU) Is worried about the rise in the number of arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders and those engaging in peaceful and lawful demonstrations and urges that the rule of law be respected and that the Constitution be upheld,” the EU said.

“(EU) Urges the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the commonwealth to re-engage in helping Zimbabwe back onto the path of democracy.”

The EU for more than a decade maintained sanctions that it had placed on Mugabe and his allies in Zanu PF after the nonagenarian’s government was accused of violating human and property rights.

But Mugabe said he was being punished for embarking on agrarian reforms which dispossessed the whites from the country’s vast commercial farms.

The EU relaxed most of its restrictive measures after “noting” that Mugabe had made progress in implementing reforms which included stopping violence, crafting a new Constitution and opening a re-engagement process with the West.

However, the new concerns by the EU could scuttle the investment and dialogue currently underway with European countries.
Mugabe’s government needs cash to resuscitate the near comatose economy which has triggered public anger.

Angry Zimbabweans, reeling from the current economic meltdown which they blame on him, have been holding endless demonstrations since the economy hit turbulence in early June.
Three weeks ago, police and soldiers ran amok in many of Harare’s high density suburbs where they indiscriminately beat up nightclub revellers, before they also ordered the early closure of shops in Chitungwiza.

Authorities also savaged and arrested scores of pro-democracy activists and opposition members coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), who were holding nationwide protests to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

This was despite the fact that demonstrations outside central Harare had not been included in the current police ban on mass action of any kind. Daily News


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