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‘Mugabe a stumbling block’


Members of the European Parliament say President Robert Mugabe continues to be the stumbling block in efforts to successfully turn around the fortunes of Zimbabwe.

This came out of a heated meeting of the European Parliament held recently in France where legislators expressed anger over President Mugabe’s continued unilateralism.

“The resolution deplores the fact that (President) Robert Mugabe and his close supporters continue to be a stumbling block in the process of political and economic reconstruction and reconciliation in Zimbabwe, plundering as they do its economic resources for their own benefit,” the European Union said in a statement after the meeting.

President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are at loggerheads over the former’s unilateral reappointment of provincial governors, ambassadors and judges.

However, the President defended his move, saying he was acting in accordance with the Constitution.

President Mugabe last week said elections would be held by mid-next year as he could not stomach a prolonged extension of the shaky unity government, accusing Tsvangirai of being a sellout.

Meanwhile, the EU said it also discussed the situation in Zimbabwe, calling for an immediate end to the threat of mass forced evictions in the country and urging the government “to scrap the arbitrarily imposed lease renewal fees, which residents simply have no means of paying”.

The cost to renew a lease is $140.

“The fight against HIV and Aids and maternal mortality is being undermined by the government’s abusive practices, which have disrupted access to basic healthcare and education,” the resolution

Up to 20 000 people living in an informal settlement at Hatcliffe Extension on the outskirts of Harare have been threatened with forced eviction for failing to pay prohibitively high fees charged by the authorities.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International last month released a statement calling on government officials to stop the pending evictions and instead make a plan to settle these displaced people elsewhere before evicting them.

Back in June, the officials notified residents that they should renew leases for their plots by September 30 or face eviction.

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