According to the report, Welshman Ncube, president of the smaller faction of the MDC, said their suspension would promote a more open democracy.
“If this is true, then this is the best news I have had in a very long time and is a very serious contribution by the EU to help create a climate where Zimbabweans can go to elections and freely express themselves,” he said.
The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that Britain and the EU were preparing to lift sanctions on Mugabe and his closest henchmen in an effort to persuade the Zimbabwean leader to hold free and fair elections
The report said that a rev.iew of “the measures that have banned the 88-year old Mugabe, his military allies and key officials, from travel to Europe and frozen suspect bank accounts – would conclude that sanctions should now be conditionally suspended”.
The sanctions were imposed in 2002 after Mugabe oversaw a murderous campaign to drive out white farmers that pushed the economy into a disastrous slump.
John Robertson, a Zimbabwean economist, said Zanu-PF had made much “political mileage” out of the sanctions.
“Sanctions were the West’s best gift to Zanu-PF,” he said. “However we should remember why the sanctions were imposed in the first place and that some of those crimes continue.”
Zanu-PF politicians also welcomed the move, saying it would give succour to “ordinary Zimbabweans”.
Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe’s former information minister and a member of the Zanu-PF politburo, said the “evil and illegal” sanctions “should never have been imposed in the first place”.
But he said that the threat to reinstate them was “patronising”.
“It’s very destabilising to say ‘We are holding a big axe over your head if you don’t run elections in a way that’s acceptable to us’ because it will be used by some political parties to get what they want,” he said. “It will create a situation where its heads, MDC wins and tails, MDC wins.
“If the Europeans want to help us, they must leave us to run our own affairs – we don’t need to be treated like naughty children rewarded with sweets. It’s a very patronising attitude.”