19 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Zim Scoffs At EU Visa Ban Deal

Photo: IRIN
A fresh produce market in Mbare, Harare.

THE suspension of travel bans imposed on six Cabinet ministers and 21 other individuals by the European Union yesterday is divisive and meaningless, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, has said.

"It is obviously designed to divide and rule," he said.

"It is totally meaningless. As long as one Zimbabwean is under sanctions, then the whole country is under sanctions. The sanctions should be removed in totality and unconditionally. These efforts to try and divide us will never work."

Zanu-PF also dismissed the move as "outrageous, preposterous and divisive".

The EU yesterday suspended travel bans on Cdes Webster Shamu (Media, Information and Publicity), Herbert Murerwa (Lands and Rural Resettlement), Walter Mzembi (Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Sithembiso Nyoni (Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development), Francis Nhema (Environment and Natural Resources Management) and Sylvester Nguni (Minister of State in Vice President Joice Mujuru's Office), with its Head of Delegation in Zimbabwe ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia saying the reasons for which they were listed no longer exist.

Minister Mumbengegwi and his Justice and Legal Affairs counterpart Patrick Chinamasa, who are in the EU-Zimbabwe re-engagement dialogue team, had their travel bans removed last year.

All other Zanu-PF ministers remain on the sanctions list.

Twenty-one individuals, including a private company, were de-listed from the sanctions list.

These are Cdes David Chapfika, Tinaye Chigudu, Cephas Msipa, Shadreck Chipanga, Shuvai Mahofa, Michael Nyambuya, Patrick Zhuwao, David Parirenyatwa, Rangwani D, Mpabanga S, Muchono C, Mudonhi Columbus, Isaac Mumba, Mutsvunguma S, Kwenda R, Mashava G, Gilbert Moyo, Richard Ruwodo and a company called Divine Homes (Pvt Ltd) said to be linked to Cde Chapfika.

Vice President John Nkomo, Cde Stan Mudenge and Cde Bothwell Mugariri, who passed away recently, had their names removed from the list.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Ambassador Dell'Ariccia said: "The EU welcomes the agreement reached between the political parties in Zimbabwe on the final draft Constitution and the announcement of a referendum.

"This step towards the implementation of the Global Political Agreement adds further momentum to the reform process and paves the way for the holding of peaceful, transparent and credible elections later this year.

"Recognising the significance of these advances, the EU has agreed to suspend immediately the travel ban imposed on six members of the Government of Zimbabwe. The EU has agreed to de-list 21 persons and one entity subject to restrictive measures."

Mr Dell'Ariccia said the EU stands ready to further adjust its policy to recognise progress as it is made by the Zimbabwean parties along the Sadc roadmap.

He said peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would represent "an important milestone justifying an immediate suspension of the majority of all remaining targeted restrictive measures against individuals and entities".

The EU urged parties in the inclusive Government to maintain the momentum and complete the implementation of the GPA, the Sadc roadmap and hold peaceful elections.

The bloc said it was willing to work with any Government formed as a result of peaceful, credible and transparent elections.

Mr Dell'Ariccia told the media that the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation remained on the sanctions list.

The ZMDC is Government's mining arm that is partnering five diamond companies in Marange.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said the EU was wrong in setting conditions for the total removal of the travel bans.

"The decision by the EU to remove certain individuals and companies from their illegal sanctions list is outrageous and preposterous," he said.

"Zanu-PF will never accept any conditional removal of the illegal sanctions or any self serving initiatives meant to advance the economic interests of Western nations.

"Lifting of illegal sanctions must be unconditional and total. Moreover, selectively removing names and organisations from the sanctions list only serves to sow the seed of division and unnecessary mistrust among Zimbabweans. The party insists on unequivocal lifting of all illegal sanctions."

Cde Gumbo said Zimbabweans demonstrated unity of purpose in coming up with the draft constitution that is going for a referendum on March 16.

"Furthermore, Zimbabwean leaders and parties have called for the immediate removal of sanctions," he said.

"Similarly, Sadc countries, particularly South Africa, our mediator in the coalition Government, has endlessly demanded that sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted.

"We believe that the current move to partially lift the illegal sanctions is intended to serve the interests of nations that want rough diamonds from our mines.

"Our position remains that these sanctions are illegal and they must go in totality and without any conditions. They were not sanctioned by the United Nations or by the Cotonou Agreement between EU and African-Carribean countries," Cde Gumbo said.

Zanu-PF appealed to Sadc and the African Union to continue advocating the removal of the illegal sanctions.

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