ZBC journalists placed on EU targeted sanctions list

Six more Zimbabwean journalists were slapped with European Union (EU) targeted sanctions on the 26th January according to the latest list published from Brussels. Recent additions include ZBC chief correspondent Reuben Barwe, diplomatic correspondent Judith Makwanya, senior producer Musoro Wegomo Mukosi, board chairman Justin Mutasa and Acting Chief Executive Happison Muchechetere, who will not be able to travel to any EU country.

The targeted sanctions which include a freeze on assets were introduced
several years ago to target individuals aiding and abetting the brutal
regime of Robert Mugabe. Barwe, Makwanya and Mukosi were accused of
whipping up violence during the government-orchestrated terror campaign
before and during the 2008 elections.

According to the list Muchechetere and Mutasa, who chairs the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings and is Chief Executive of Zimbabwe Newspapers,
(owners of the Herald and Chronicle newspapers among others) are
accused of having ties to the Government and being involved in
activities that seriously undermine freedom of expression and the media
in Zimbabwe. Also on the list is Pikirai Deketeke who chairs the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and is editor of the official
pro-government newspaper – The Herald. He also has ties to the regime,
which further compromised freedom of expression in the media. Last year
Herald journalists Caesar Zvayi and Munyaradzi Huni were the first
journalists to make it on the list.

The EU said the measures were being extended for another 12 months and
took into account the situation, including the violence organised and
committed by the regime, and the continued blocking of the
implementation of the unity deal signed by ZANU PF and the MDC last
year. Previous additions on the list include businessmen like John
Bredenkamp, who is said to have provided, through his companies,
financial and other support to the regime. Sekesai Makwavarara the
former opposition mayor who later joined ZANU PF is also on the list,
and is accused of bearing wide responsibility for serious violations
of human rights.' Other key people in the army, police, intelligence,
media, political circles and business are on the EU list which has 203
people and 40 companies aligned to Mugabe.

This week Mugabe tried to use the African Union summit to lobby for a
removal of the targeted sanctions, but western countries said they
would remain in place until real progress' was made in sharing power
with the opposition. Many people are still suspicious of Mugabe's
sincerity in the unity government, convinced he wants to use the MDC to
win international acceptance for his rogue regime, and relieve pressure
on his embattled stay in power.

SW Radio Africa

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