Much ado about nothing: Vigil

Once again the targeted measures against Zimbabwe are in the news, with a report in the London Daily Telegraph that the EU is planning to conditionally suspend them to encourage progress towards free and fair elections.

The EU’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, threw cold water over this report but did say that discussions were under way which could lead to greater ‘co-operation’ with Zimbabwe.

But if the EU – or the MDC for that matter – think lifting sanctions will make any difference in securing free and fair elections the Vigil believes they are in for disappointment. The MDC committed itself to calling for an end to sanctions when it signed up to the misbegotten GPA. Another crazy concession was the GPA’s call for an end to outside broadcasts to Zimbabwe – something over which the Zimbabwean authorities have no control whatsoever. Zanu PF can now argue that this impossible requirement is now the deal breaker.

Sanctions have only really been symbolic – of marginal consequence to the EU or Zimbabwe. How else is one to explain the report on Friday from the UK’s Parliamentary Committees on Arms Export Controls which notes that ‘sensitive equipment’ had been sold to Zimbabwe among other countries regarded by the Foreign Office as having dubious human rights records.

As for lifting the travel ban, this would give the Vigil an opportunity to demonstrate against visits by Zimbabwean human rights abusers. We are already exploring what legal steps we could take against them should they come here.

Post published in: World News

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