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Zimbabwean President Mugabe's ZANU-PF Critical of EU Extension of Sanctions

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

The EU extended the restrictions for another year on Monday citing lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, but removed nine mostly state-owned companies from its restrictions list.

The long-ruling ZANU-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, now sharing power in Harare with the Movement for Democratic Change, on Tuesday criticized the European Union for renewing economic and travel sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and his closest associates.

The EU extended the restrictions for another year on Monday citing lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, but removed nine mostly state-owned companies from its restrictions list.

In an interview with VOA, ZANU-PF Chief Parliamentary Whip Joram Gumbo dismissed the partial waiver of the sanctions on parastatal enterprises saying his party wants sanctions to be lifted in their entirety.

"It's really not worth it doing piecemeal business. The EU should have removed all the sanctions imposed on our companies and some of our citizens in Zimbabwe," Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo.

"Selective removal of those sanctions is just not good enough," Gumbo said. "Sanctions should be entirely removed. The fact that the EU chose to remove these sanctions on a few companies and on dead people like Vitalis Zvinavashe shows that it's not serious."

The EU lifted sanctions on the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company or Zisco, the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, and some individuals including former ZANU-PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, now leader of the revived ZAPU party, and the late Vice President Joseph Msika, saying there were “no longer grounds” to maintain the sanctions.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, James Maridadi, said Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi should answer for the continued strained relations between Zimbabwe and the EU.

The issue of sanctions imposed by the EU on more than 200 ZANU-PF officials and some 40 state or privately-owned companies associated with the party since 2002 has become a divisive issue within the power-sharing government.

Deputy Spokesman Renson Gasela of the MDC formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said that his party, like Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF, wanted all of the sanctions to be lifted. Gasela said sanctions were negating efforts by the unity government to revive Zimbabwe's economy.

Though he disputes that Zimbabwe as such is under economic sanctions, Prime Minister Tsvangirai has recently lobbied Western nations to ease the restrictive measures to help the troubled unity government rebuild the country.

Thabitha Khumalo, deputy spokesperson for the Tsvangirai MDC formation, said her party was pleased with the partial lifting of sanctions, adding that ZANU-PF should exert itself to obtain the removal of all sanctions.

"Those in ZANU-PF who want individual restrictions to be removed when the EU reviews them on February 20 next year should reform first. The ball is in their court," Khumalo said.

London-based coordinator Tor Hugne Olsen of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that the EU is justified in keeping the sanctions as ZANU-PF has resisted the institution of democratic, human rights and other reforms despite the formation of a unity government.

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