EU appeals to Zuma on Zimbabwe's election roadmap/sanctions to stay

Harare, – European member countries ambassadors and representatives have appealed to Zimbabwe's political crisis mediator, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, to ensure an election road map for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.\r\n

The EU together with the United States also reiterated on Friday that targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle will stay until there is a rule of law.

The statements came a day after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for a ‘divorce’ of the unity government set up in 2009 under the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Mugabe has said he does not want the union to continue and has called for fresh elections this year. Tsvangirai said he favours elections under a Southern African Development Community (SADC) road map spearheaded by Zuma to ensure free and fair elections.

The statement was signed by ambassadors from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as non resident ambassadors of Finland and Poland.

Tsvangirai on Thursday expressed anger at the arrest of Ernegy minister, Elton Mangoma and several of his MPs by police saying the charges they were facing were trumped up. The premier also castigated the Supreme Court judgement which declared ‘null and void’ the election of Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo.

Mazowe central MP, Shepherd Mushonga, was arrested in Chiweshe on Thursday night for allegedly digging quarry stones in the constituency.

"Hon. Shepherd Mushonga, the Mazowe Central MP was arrested last night in Chiweshe. He is detained at Chombira Police Station on charges of digging quarry stones from the nearby mountains. Details of where the quarry stones were taken from remain sketchy but Hon. Mushonga is building houses for nurses and teachers in the constituency," the MDC said.

"For the two years, the Inclusive government has struggled to bring stability to Zimbabwe and to pave the way for a democratic transition through credible elections. The undersigned are concerned by increasing evidence in recent weeks of what appears to be politically motivated intimidation and violence," read the EU statement.

"We recall the importance of a peaceful process and encourage the government of Zimbabwe and the political parties to respect the spirit and the letter of the of the Global Political Agreement, to fully use mechanisms such as Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee to deter violence and to engage decisively with the SADC region and with the South African Facilitator, HE President Zuma, to agree on a roadmap that can ensure credible and democratic elections, in accordance with the existing SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections."

"Considering the role the security forces, the Attorney General and the judiciary play with regard to the protection of fundamental freedoms, we appeal to them to contribute to a positive environment and to discharge their duties in an impartial and non-political way," noted the statement.

Meanwhile the United States and European Union were adamant Zanu (PF) had not moved an inch to warrant the unconditional lifting of targeted sanctions slammed on Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) officials.

President Mugabe last Wednesday officially launched an anti-sanctions campaign at an event which was boycotted by both MDC faction leaders, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

The event in which school children, civil servants and other residents were force-marched to attend in a typical Zanu (PF) communist campaign, is seen by political analysts as desperate attempts by Mugabe to outpoll Tsvangirai who embarrassed him in the bloody 2008 first round of the presidential race.

People were ferried in government vehicles, buses, police and army trucks for the event which was clearly choreographed by Zanu (PF) spin-doctors intended to pile pressure on the West as Mugabe forges ahead with plans to call for fresh polls to bring closure to the government of national unity.

But in separate statements on Friday the US and the EU said Mugabe and Zanu (PF) appeared to be grand-standing as they had not done enough to warrant the removal of the targeted measures President Mugabe blames for Zimbabwe’s economic and political problems.

“This is a political messaging campaign pure and simple. It is planned and executed by one political party, Zanu (PF), to the perceived advantage of its members,” said Charles Ray, the US Ambassador in Harare.

Ambassador Ray said the Zanu (PF) Information Department was deliberately using misinformation and completely unrelated facts to mislead the public on the targeted measures. He said the facts were that for more than 10 years, Zimbabwe had been ineligible to receive any type of international loan, regardless of U.S. and EU opinions, due to its leaders’ failure to make payments on its debt.

Ray added that Zimbabwe’s unpaid debts to the African Development Bank, IMF, and World Bank put a stop to lending long before there were sanctions.

“Zimbabwe’s current political and economic environment, including fresh threats from the President on his birthday to take over established companies, has a chilling effect on new investment, both domestic and international. Banks and other businesses are responsible to their share holders, and find it increasingly difficult to justify investing in such a high risk environment. Only economic stabilisation and political sanity will change this,” said the US ambassador.

Ray revealed that fewer than 120 Zimbabweans were named on the legal U.S. sanctions list, almost all of them Zanu (PF) leaders who had a hand in political violence against their fellow citizens.

“They may not travel to the U.S. or do business with U.S. companies because Americans do not want them to enjoy the fruits of their corruption on our soil. This does not hurt other Zimbabweans. What hurt the rest of the country are the corruption, mismanagement, and lack of social investment that have brought development to a standstill,” he added.

Regarding the anti-sanctions petition signed by Mugabe, his bootlickers, hangers-on and unsophisticated ZANU-PF supporters, Ray said: “Petitions are great things. On any given day, thousands of petitions are circulating in the U.S. But a petition becomes a wretched thing when only one section of the population is allowed the right to express its views publicly, while others seeking the right to assemble, petition, and demonstrate are arrested and tortured.”

In a statement to the media on Friday, the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe said further reforms were necessary for any future relaxation of the targeted measures, especially with regard to the respect of the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

“These measure can be reassessed at any moment should positive developments take place,” read part of the statement of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe.

The EU targeted measures suspended government-to-government cooperation; imposed visa and asset freeze on Mugabe and his inner circle and prohibit individuals or companies of EU member states from the supply or sale of arms and related munitions to Zimbabwe.