The EU is due to review the situation in Zimbabwe and decide whether to renew the targeted sanctions, remove them completely or initiate a reform programme leading to their removal.
The United States and European countries decided to impose a travel ban and freeze assets belonging to Mugabe, his family and closest allies, after a stolen election that was followed by a brutal campaign of violence, rape and torture against the MDC and innocent civilians.
The Mugabe propaganda machine has since then sought to portray these restrictive measures as part of a regime change agenda crafted by Western and European nations, who want Mugabe removed from power. They refer to them as “illegal sanctions”.
Initially civil society in Zimbabwe supported the measures and called for their renewal every year. But recently there appears to be a shift in their position, with Mugabe and ZANU PF insisting the restrictions are blocking officials from doing their work and choking the country’s economy.
Former diplomat and political analyst Clifford Mashiri dismissed the idea of a “rethink” and attributed this new rhetoric to fear. He said civil society and Zimbabweans know that Mugabe will never implement the GPA, even if the measures are removed.
“These are people with guns pointed at their heads in Zimbabwe. There is an obvious tendency to be afraid of what will happen if they were heard or known to be calling for targeted sanctions on the regime,” Mashiri said.
He explained that those on the ground in Zimbabwe know what has happened in the past, when people were picked up by “guys in dark glasses” and thrown into the back of a truck, which will never come back with them alive.
“This consensus to lift the targeted sanctions is coming from people living in fear. That’s why you will find those of us outside the country able to speak openly and freely, not irresponsibly,” the analyst said.
According to Mashiri the mere fact that the regime is so vocal about the travel ban and asset freeze imposed on them shows that they have been effective.
With no other recourse, the targeted sanctions remain the only punitive action taken against Mugabe and those who have brought suffering to so many Zimbabweans. – SW Radio Africa NewsPost published in: News