Why the EU is right to retain sanctions on Zimbabwe’s thugs
Robert Mugabe’s cronies in Zimbabwe – clinging on to power and abusing as much of it as they still can, are furious that the European Union has maintained its sanctions on the elite of the country. They claim that the EU has sanctions against Zimbabwe in place, but in fact they are targeted on the people who used to run Zimbabwe as a brutal dictatorship. Trade unionists in Zimbabwe have welcomed the decision this week to keep up the pressure on Mugabe’s clique, not least because those still in positions of authority continue – a year into the power sharing agreement – to abuse that power.
The ZCTU’s annual report on abuses of workers’ rights revealed that state security agents arrested 78 workers last year and threatened or assaulted another 2,306 workers for taking part in union activities. Last year, Zimbabwean farmworkers’ leader Gertrude Hambira brought to the UK powerful video and written evidence of continued violence against black farm workers (as well as the few remaining white farm owners) who are the main victims of the continuing land grab by ZANU-PF leaders. ZCTU General Secretary Wellington Chibebe was reported on the radio earlier this month saying:
“the so-called sanctions were targeted measures. Targeted at specific individuals and specific companies and/or organisations which had something to do with the violation of human rights in Zimbabwe . … ZANU PF … now clamour[s] for the removal of the so-called sanctions. But believe you me, the issue of the so-called sanctions … is linked to the violation of human rights and people’s freedom and from where we have observed the situation on the ground, nothing has changed so far.”