19 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Violent Chegutu 'War Vet' Removed From Sanctions List

Shock is being expressed over the European Union (EU) decision to remove a notoriously violent 'war vet' from its list of targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe, despite the man being guilty of serious crimes.

EU diplomats met in Brussels on Monday to decide Zimbabwe's sanctions future, and decided that 21 individuals and one business entity would be de-listed. The EU said in its reasoning that it "welcomes the breakthrough in the constitution making process as a significant step forward in implementing the Global Political Agreement."

21 people, including Chegutu 'war vet' Gilbert Moyo, have been de-listed, along with one company named as Divine Home (Pvt) Ltd which is linked to one of the individuals who have been removed from the list. Visa bans on six government ministers, including Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi and Media Minister Webster Shamu, have also been lifted.

The other ministers now free from European travel bans are: Herbert Murerwa (Lands), Sylvester Nguni (State in the VP's Office) Sithembiso Nyoni (Small & Medium Enterprises) and Francis Nhema (Environment). Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who are in the EU-Zimbabwe re-engagement dialogue team, had their travel bans removed last year.

The other individuals removed from the 'sanctions' list are: David Parirenyatwa, Dani Rangwani, Richard Ruwodo, Patrick Zhuwao, Isaac Mumba, S. Mutsvunguma, John Nkomo, Michael Nyambuya, C. Muchono, Isaac Mudenge, Mudonhi Columbus, Mugariri Botwell, G Mashava, Gilbert Moyo, S. Mpabanga, Cephas Msipa, David Chapfika, Tinaye Nzirasha, Tongesai Chipanga, R Kwenda.

The EU gives only brief details about who they add to their blacklist and why. But research by SW Radio Africa would indicate that Gilbert Moyo is the 'war vet' implicated in serious violence in Chegutu for many years.

This includes the abduction and brutal beatings of former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth and his parents-in-law, Mike and Angela Campbell, in 2008. Freeth and his in-laws were abducted on the same day that Robert Mugabe was being sworn into office after the one-man presidential run off poll that year.

Freeth recounted the experience during an interview with SW Radio Africa on Tuesday, and explained that he identified Moyo as the leader of the gang that abducted him and the Campbells on that Sunday, 29th June 2008.

"They took us to their militia camp and beat us severely. I had a fractured skull, broken ribs, severe bruising. I nearly lost an eye and I had a stab wound to the arm. Mike had seven broken bones and Angela had a serious break to her arm and she was beaten around the face. They also thrust a burning stick into her mouth," Freeth explained.

Mike Campbell passed away in April 2011 after never fully recovering from his injuries.

Moyo was never brought to book, despite eventually being tracked down in the Mike Campbell's car, that he stole during the abduction. Freeth explained that they managed to get Moyo detained, but he was set free.

Freeth also explained how Moyo was notorious in Chegutu, particularly in 2008, for going door-to-door at all locals farms and houses "terrorising people and looting their homes."

He also led the violent invasion of different farms as part of the land grab campaign, including the property belonging to James Ogden Brown. Moyo terrorised the family and their children in their home before eventually succeeding in running them off the property. He also led the invasion of the farm owned by Bruce and Netty Rogers, who were also brutally beaten in that attack.

"This is the guy the EU says is fine now. I don't understand how they can take a man who has been committing crimes against humanity off their list. He has never been brought to trial. He has had absolute impunity for his crimes. Of course the police don't touch the untouchables and nor it appears does the European Union," Freeth said.

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