Unable to resist the venom of sanctions

mugabevigilaFar from hurting the people of Zimbabwe, as President Robert Mugabe (pictured) would want everyone, everywhere to believe, it is becoming increasingly clear that targeted sanctions are achieving their desired effect: to hurt the authoritarian Mugabe and his self-interested mob.

The European Union’s sanctions must and, are likely to, stay put until our President does more than just heed ‘Julius Mugabe’s’ call to denounce violence.

Now is precisely the wrong time to relax the sanctions. If anything, now is the opportune time to go a gear up and intensify their effects by adding even more.

The devils have been hit where it matters the most for them – in their pockets. While the travel bans have curtailed the lavish spending of individuals like Grace Mugabe, the bulk of the mob have been barred from sending their children to study at expensive colleges in Australia, the UK and America as the once highly esteemed University of Zimbabwe lamentably falls into decay.

There is no reason and no way the European Union would unanimously decide to

ease the pressure on those who have hurt us for so long and never bothered to do anything to mitigate our suffering except to mouth empty words denouncing violence at an Independence ‘celebration’. Accordingly, Mugabe’s message of tolerance on 18 April 2010 must be ignored for what it is: mere talk.

In case these people need reminding, the sanctions are there for a reason and are imposed on a handful of people who have vandalised the country in a way

almost too frightening to comprehend.

Political reform is not coming as quickly as it could. For instance, while the country was ‘celebrating’ independence, political activists were being held in the dark, cold and miserable cells of the notorious Harare Central Police Station.

Progress on human rights and related issues will be key to motivating the relaxation of the targeted sanctions. However, despite the setting up of a Media Commission responsible with the licensing of new media houses, not even one has been licensed.

If Mugabe and his henchmen are serious about meriting the lifting of sanctions, they must, in the first instance, genuinely promote human dignity, freedom of speech and the rule of law, end arbitrary arrests, apply Zimbabwean laws to the fullest extent possible without bias, and forthwith bring to justice all perpetrators of politically motivated violence. They must act in conformity with the letter and spirit of the Global Political Agreement.

Quite evidently, targeted sanctions are an essential lever to ensure progress in our country. – Maziwisa is Interim President of the Union for Sustainable Democracy (USD) and can be contacted at [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions

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