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Zimbabwe's Former Ruling Party Digs in Demanding Lifting of Western Sanctions


Statements linking progress in talks on outstanding unity government issues have emanated from ZANU-PF before, but party spokesman Ephraim Masawi told the state-run Herald newspaper that the party’s politburo has now formally adopted this position

Zimbabwe's former ruling party ZANU-PF has declared it will make no further concessions in settling issues troubling the Harare power-sharing arrangement until governing partners secure the lifting of sanctions on party brass.

The United States, the European Union, Australia and others have long had in place travel and financial sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and hundreds of other top ZANU-PF officials and supporters. Such sanctions were imposed mainly in response to alleged human rights violations.

Statements linking progress in talks on outstanding unity government issues have emanated from ZANU-PF before. But party spokesman Ephraim Masawi told the state-run Herald newspaper that the party’s politburo has now formally adopted this position in response to a statement last week by British foreign secretary David Miliband saying that he would consult the Movement for Democratic Change, among others, on lifting the sanctions.

Masawi said this confirmed ZANU-PF’s charge that the former opposition party had a hand in setting the sanctions and therefore should be held responsible for removing them. The MDC has said it has no control in the matter of sanctions.

Reached for confirmation of this information, Masawi refused to speak with a reporter from VOA's Studio 7 news radio program for Zimbabwe.

He told the pro-ZANU-PF Herald that the politburo had ordered negotiators for the party to “desist from making concessions … until the sanctions are removed and the pirate radio stations cease to pollute airwaves.” That latter point was a reference to Studio 7, London-based Shortwave Radio Africa, Voice of the People and other stations broadcasting from outside Zimbabwe.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed the ZANU-PF threat, saying the party is using excuses to cling to power as it fades into oblivion.

Speaking on behalf of Tsvangirai, Minister of State Gorden Moyo said it is not a question at this point of concessions, but of implementing what was agreed.

Harare-based political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Sandra Nyaira that ZANU-PF is running out the clock on a game it has already lost.

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