By Shingirai Vambe
Barely 48 hours after the summit, which the Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa attended in Brussels, Belgium, the European Union has renewed and added sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The whole of last week, Mnangagwa was participating in the EU, AU investment talks; aiming to engage and push with countries that have sanctioned sanctioned for the removal of sanctions.
The state media was in overdrive last week about the summit, claiming his re-engagement effort was bearing fruit and he was sealing lucrative trade and investment deals.
Within 48-72 hours, cases of abuse and torture were all over social media, with videos circulating of police brutality on citizens and members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and the police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyati saying investigations are underway.
Zimbabwe is endowed with vast minerals resources, the meeting in Brussels saw Zimbabwe delegation meeting with diamond investors among other parties.
Regardless of the effort, EU statement reads,
“The situation in terms of respect for human rights has not improved in Zimbabwe.
Intimidation of the political opposition and other government critics has continued to restrict the democratic and civic space, which is under threat of shrinking further, through the Data Protection Act and ongoing legislative processes such as the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill and the envisaged so-called Patriotic Act,” the organisation said.
Zimbabweans are yet to respond on the PVO bill which seeks to muzzle and limit the registration and operations of Civic Society Groups (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Ammendment of this bill will see vulnerable ordinary citizen, in rural and urban areas facing more challenges than already available when they seize to get food hand-outs, implementation of community projects and monthly pay cheques.
Ammendment of this bill comes at a time when government has warned NGOs’ interference with country’s political parties and activities.
“In this light, the EU recalls the purpose of its restrictive measures, which is to encourage a demonstrable, genuine, and long-term commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to respect and uphold human rights and the rule of law.
The EU has decided to renew its restrictive measures, while lifting the already suspended restrictive measures against three individuals.
The arms embargo and the targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, remain in place taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the continuing need to investigate the role of security forces in human rights abuses.”
In addition, the EU has clearly stated, the measures in place are targeted and very limited, therefore they do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade. Zimbabwe continues to benefit from duty free and quota free access of its exports to the EU, while negotiations are ongoing to deepen the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement.
Meanwhile, opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa launched his party by election campaign in Harare under strict infringed environment, with heavy police roadblocks, arrests of party members for car rallying, conditions which are not applicable to the ruling Zanu Pf party.
Thousands thronged the Zimbabwe grounds, a gathering that has shocked many, living no shadow of doubt that Chamisa and Mnangagwa are two rivals able to change the country’s current status-quo