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Tsvangirai Cautions EU Against 'Selfish' Zimbabwe Re-engagement

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned the European Union on Friday against a hurried Zimbabwe re-engagement driven by “selfish interests” at the expense of democracy.

The former prime minister also urged the international community at large to keep the heat on President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government to embrace acceptable norms and standards of governance.

A number of western countries that had sequestered Harare in the past decade or so over human rights concerns have lately loosened the grip and expressed desire to restore bilateral relations with Zimbabwe.

But Mr. Tsvangirai issued a caveat saying the stabilization of relations between the West and Zimbabwe should not precede tangible political and democratic reforms that will guarantee free and fair future elections.

“The international community must not just re-engage without a framework; but must insist on implementation of agreed electoral conditions and the embracing of universally acceptable standards by authorities in Harare,” Tsvangirai said in an address at Chatam House in London.

The MDC-T leader called out the EU, which continues to ease restrictions on Mugabe and his inner circle, saying the 28-member bloc’s members were driven by “selfish interest.” He did not elaborate.

“Individual EU countries must not just call for re-engagement because of their selfish interests,” Tsvangirai said.

"They must re-engage to add to global pressure on universally acceptable norms and standards of governance that respect the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.”

The European Union last lessened its Zimbabwe sanctions in February and promised a broader review – possibly a total removal - in November provided there is no decline in governance and the human rights situation.

Tsvangirai lamented the obtaining economic meltdown saying Zimbabwe was facing severe challenges that needed an all hands on deck approach with the help of international mediators.

“An internationally brokered national dialogue of all stakeholders would be a good starting point to avert the national crisis gripping the nation,” Tsvangirai said, seemingly backing down from his earlier position that foreign mediators were no longer the answer to the Zimbabwe question.

Political commentator Briggs Bomba weighed in saying isolation has caused Harare more harm than good in the past years.

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