Sanctions or no sanctions, Mugabe will never change

moeletsi_mbekiLONDON As a high-powered team of EU delegates visited Zimbabwe last week for talks with leaders of the Government of National Unity (GNU), one of South Africas respected political analysts, Moeletsi Mbeki, dismissed the idea that President Robert Mugabe can be changed by lifting sanctions. (Pictured: Moeletsi Mbeki - Those calling for lifting

Political commentators saw the EU trip to Harare as the first step in the ending of Mugabes isolation after sanctions were imposed seven years ago to protest his human rights record and authoritarian rule now in its 30th year.

In an interview on the BBCs The World Tonight programme (Wednesday 9 September) Mbeki said that those calling for sanctions to be lifted against Mugabe and his key supporters have got the whole thing wrong. He said that the so-called national unity government in Zimbabwe was not working.

Crimes against Zimbabweans

Its very unlikely to work because Mugabe holds all the reins of power and the agreement what was called the Global Political Agreement in fact specifies that all the crimes that Mugabe has committed against the people of Zimbabwe (like destroying the agriculture sector) cannot be reversed. Moeletsi Mbeki is the deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs and the younger brother of the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki who on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) negotiated Zimbabwes power-sharing agreement.

The respected analyst told the BBC that sanctions against Mugabe were having a good effect. He said that there were only two governments Botswana and Tanzania within the 15-nation SADC who opposed Mugabes rule. The fact that they are now screaming and shouting saying remove the sanctions means that they (sanctions) are having the desired effect on the Mugabe regime.

Grim picture

Earlier on Wednesday, Mbeki was guest speaker at Chatham House in London where he painted a grim picture of developments within South Africa. He was highly critical of the Thabo Mbeki government and continues his criticism by attacking the new ANC government led by Jacob Zuma. To the oft repeated argument that sanctions against Zimbabwe were making it harder for the GNU (which includes the MDC) to make progress in re-building the country and blocking inward investment, Mbeki said:

What is blocking inward investment is the lawlessness of the Mugabe regime. There is continuing dispossession of farms despite the unity government, despite Morgan Tsvangirai being prime minister. He is a nominal prime minister in real terms. We read stories every day of farmers being dispossessed. Last week two farmhouses were burnt down because Mugabes cronies (one of them being Dr Nathan Shamuyarira) want to take over their homes and their farms.

So the notion that Zanu (PF) has stopped doing what it has been doing and that by lifting the sanctions it will make them more amenable to a democratic system in Zimbabwe is really totally unfounded.

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