Business coerced to sign sanctions petition

Mugabe__SummitHARARE - Zanu (PF) this week summoned Harare businessmen to a meeting at the partys provincial headquarters at which they were ordered to support a petition calling for the removal of Western visa restrictions and the asset freeze imposed on President Robert Mugabe(pictured) and his top lieutenants.

One of the businessmen told this newspapers they were called to the meeting on Monday and threatened with unspecified action if they failed to sign the petition launched by Mugabe in Harare this week.

We were told that it was in our interest to sign the petition and that we should be present during the launch at the Harare Showground (Exhibition Park) on Wednesday, said the businessman, who cannot be named for fear of victimisation.

He said those present were left with choice but to append their signatures to the document, fearing reprisals from a party with a record for unleashing violence on its opponents.

The meeting with the businesspeople was part of efforts by Zanu (PF) to give weight to the petition and build a stronger case for the removal of the so-called sanctions.

Zanu (PF) has consistently waged a campaign of misinformation in order to confuse people about the truth concerning the targeted measures which in reality affect only those individuals and companies allied to the party who have been involved in gross human rights abuses against the people of Zimbabwe. They continue to peddle the lie that these measures are affecting everyone facet of life in Zimbabwe, particularly the business sector.

The campaign, entitled “Sanctions do kill”, insists that the Western embargo is affecting people indiscriminately. This is simply not the case. It is Zanu (PF) that is the killing machine.

Zanu (PF) political commissar Webster Shamu said the petition was a rare opportunity for all Zimbabweans, irrespective of colour, creed or political affiliation, to speak out against the sanctions.

They have caused drastic reduction of capacity utilisation across all economic sectors, resulting in retrenchments, shortage of basic commodities, hyper-inflation and other related hardships, claimed Shamu.

Mugabe and his senior lieutenants have faced visa and financial restrictions since 2002 when the European Union (EU), United States, Australia and New Zealand first imposed the targeted measures in retaliation to alleged human rights abuses and vote rigging by the Zimbabwean leader.

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