Find truth about “sanctions”: ICG

The International Crisis Group has called for a review of the impact that targeted measures have had on Zimbabwe.

With European Union set to review the measures within the next two weeks, the ICG suggested this week that President Robert Mugabe had succeeded in manipulating the issue for political gain, while his opponents had apparently failed to use the measures to strengthen the fight for democracy.

“President Mugabe and Zanu (PF) manipulate the issue politically and propagandise it as part of their efforts to frustrate reforms and mobilise against perceived internal and external threats to national sovereignty,” said Piers Pigou, the group’s Southern Africa Project Director.

“Supporters of sanctions have not connected individual measures adequately to the broader struggle for democracy, and they have never gained support for them from the region.”

The measures were introduced on Zanu (PF) individuals in response to political violence, human rights abuses and rule-of-law violations, as well as deteriorating democratic standards that followed the violent 2000 and 2002 elections under Mugabe’s rule.

They include visa bans and asset freezes, restrictions on government-to-government aid (though not humanitarian and some development help) and access to loans, and arms embargo.

“The measures have generated a polarised narrative between those who argue that Zimbabwe is under a broad sanctions regime that is primarily responsible for its economic woes, and those who claim that they are limited, and Zanu (PF) policies and practices are mainly responsible for economic disintegration,” said the ICG in its report Zimbabwe’s Sanctions Standoff, released this week.

“The gridlock reflects the broader paralysis that characterises Zimbabwe’s politics and underscores the necessity for key reforms to secure credible elections that must be held by June 2013.”

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