Politically motivated abuse rampant in Zim: EU

mugabe_robertHARARE The European Union (EU) presidency, Sweden, has taken a swipe at Zimbabwe's human rights record, saying politically motivated abuse still exists in the southern African country. (Pictured: PRESIDENT MUGABE . . . has refused to swear in Bennett)

The EU presidency, in a statement at the weekend, also expressed deep concern about last week’s indictment and subsequent detention of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais top ally Roy Bennett.

The 52-year-old Bennett is the MDC nominee for the post of deputy agriculture minister in Zimbabwes power-sharing government formed last February between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC top politician, who was granted bail at the High Court on Friday after his detention in Mutare on Wednesday, is accused of possessing weapons for the purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism. He denies the charges.

“The presidency regrets that politically motivated abuse persists in the country,” the EU said, adding that the detention of Bennett, together with reports during the last few months of unsubstantiated legal measures taken against several MDC Members of Parliament, is cause for serious concern.

The presidency calls for an end to politically motivated persecution in Zimbabwe,” said the statement.

The trial of Bennett, who was indicted to the High Court on Wednesday, was supposed to begin today at the High Court in the eastern border city of Mutare, but will now start at a later date because the state had not given the defence enough time to prepare.

Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett, a former white farmer, to his ministerial post citing the charges against him.

The MDC has reacted angrily to Bennett’s detention, demanding a resolution of all outstanding issues to last years Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the unity government.

The former opposition party, which says the charges against Bennett are political, says Mugabes prosecution of Bennett is a further breach of the GPA under which Mugabe undertook to halt all political prosecutions.

The EU said it stood “ready to assist the inclusive government in implementing the much-needed reforms included in the GPA in the areas of democracy, respect for human rights and restoration of the rule of law.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and another MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara signed the GPA in September last year following inconclusive elections.

“The parties to the GPA agreed last year to build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation and hatred. This commitment should be honoured without delay,” said the EU.

Under the GPA Harare is supposed to stabilise the southern African countrys economy that has been in decline for the past decade, liberalise the media and democratise key state institutions that have been under the control of Mugabes ZANU PF party since independence in 1980.

The unity government should also write a new constitution for the country after which free and democratic elections should be held.

Post published in: Politics

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