- Last Updated on 20 February 2012
- Hits: 1482
On Friday 17 February 2012, the European Union announced the removal of 51 ZANU PF politicians and party functionaries and 20 companies linked to the political party from restrictive measures. The measures, which include travel restrictions, arms embargo and asset freezes, were put in place in 2002 in response to a flawed electoral process and continued human rights violations by the Mugabe regime following the 2000 Parliamentary Elections. 112 people and 11 companies remain on the restrictions including President Robert Mugabe and the security chiefs.
According to the EU, the measures were lifted in recognition of the progress made by the inclusive government in creating conditions which are conducive for the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and as an affirmation of the bloc's desire to engage in serious political dialogue with the country.
The goodwill shown by the EU should be reciprocated by ZANU PF which has maintained sanctions against citizens by continuously perpetuating human rights abuses, disrespecting citizens' rights and disregarding electoral outcomes. Conditions which led to the imposition of targeted measures against ZANU PF and its cabal in 2002 are still existent despite the formation of an inclusive government in 2009. Democracy and the rule of law are yet to be firmly established in the country presenting the need for ZANU PF, as the chief culprit in the disregard of the rule of law and disrespect of people's fundamental rights, to ensure that conditions are created which promote the holding free and fair elections in the country.
Repressive laws including the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection Act (AIPPA), which curtail the fundamental freedoms of citizens such as the freedoms of expression, association and speech are still in place despite commitments made by the inclusive government to repeal draconian laws. Over the past two months, pro-democracy players including Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Spokesperson, Stan Zvorwadza and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) national coordinator, Jenni Williams were arbitrarily arrested under POSA. Efforts by progressive legislators to repeal POSA were met with disdain by some ZANU PF Members of Parliament. ZANU PF's disregard for citizens' rights was clearly exhibited by Justice Minister and ZANU PF official, Patrick Chinamasa who in October 2011 defended POSA and AIPPA at the United Nations Working Group on Human rights Symposium saying they are 'justified pieces of legislation'.
Moreover, the continued incarceration of prisoners of conscience including MDC Youth Chairperson, Solomon Madzore is testament to the fact that the political environment in Zimbabwe remains highly restrictive. The lifting of restrictive measures by the EU should be coupled by the following;
- Constitutional Reform
- Institutional Reforms and depoliticisation of state institutions
- Legislative Reform
- Creation of a conducive electoral framework and political environment
- Participation of marginalised groups which include women and people with Disabilities in all national processes
- Transitional Justice and National Healing
- Media Reform
- Creation of conditions for free and fair elections in line with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Principles and Guidelines for Democratic Elections