EU grovelling puzzles Vigil

It came as no surprise to the Vigil that the Belgian Ambassador to Harare is quoted as saying ‘there is nothing amiss in Zimbabwe’. Maricou Johan was speaking after bidding farewell to Vice-President Mujuru at the end of his posting. He said Belgium is pushing for the removal in November of the remaining sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the EU because of human rights abuses.

Johan added that the President of the World Diamond Centre, based in the Belgian city of Antwerp, was soon to visit Zimbabwe – an indication of the reason for Belgium’s hand of friendship to Mugabe.

The Vigil observes that Belgium has not been noted for supporting human rights in Africa. Indeed it was famous for cutting off a hand of anyone in the Belgian Congo who objected to being owned by King Leopold.

Belgium, admittedly, is not alone in ignoring the lack of reform in Zimbabwe so that it can seek economic opportunities there. The EU’s own ambassador in Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, was singing from the same hymn sheet recently.

The Vigil is puzzled by the EU’s grovelling attitude to Zimbabwe. One suspects they have their eye on the billions of dollars Finance Minister Chinamasa hopes to raise from selling the country to China. Belgium, for one, knows that there is always a buck to be made dealing with a corrupt regime.

The Vigil has raised the question with the EU. Not surprisingly, given their arrogance and contempt for democracy, we have not received a reply to a letter we sent them last month.

Perhaps Morgan Tsvangirai will address the matter when he visits the UK this week But we are not hopeful. He is due to speak at the notoriously pro-Mugabe Chatham House think tank in London on Friday. The Chatham House blurb about the talk refers to ‘The success of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) in Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections’ – no mention of rigging or even a hint that the ‘success’ was disputed!

Tsvangirai is coming to the UK to raise money and a fundraising dinner has been arranged in Birmingham on Saturday open to people willing to deposit £100 into an MDC-T account. The Home Office will be interested to note that, according to the Zimeye media website, “It will be an opportunity for asylum seekers to get pictures with the MDC leader to utilise in their asylum claims, a senior MDC leader said”.

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