Sanctions must stay — NGOs

Zimbabwe Europe Network (Zen), a consortium of more than 20 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in nine countries, says sanctions on Zimbabwe must stay intact until human and property rights violations stop.

This comes at a time when Zanu PF has called for a law that makes it treasonous for anyone to call for sanctions at the 11th annual conference.

Zanu PF immediately dismissed the NGOs saying they expected nothing from them since they were funded by the West which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Zen’s coordinator Tor-Hugne Olsen said even after a year of a coalition government, the political, democratic and economic crisis in the country remains unchanged.

“We support the continuation of targeted measures, including the travel bans on individuals responsible for human rights violations, until the Global Political Agreement (GPA) obligations are fulfilled,” Olsen said in a statement.

“We also continue to press and support Sadc and the AU, including using the EU-AU human rights dialogue, to fulfil their role as guarantors of the GPA. Large-scale political violence and human rights abuses have dominated political life since the disputed elections of June 2000.”

Olsen said the international indignation over political violence and reported vote-rigging in the March 2008 elections, coupled with the support of Sadc, led to a temporary compromise.

He said the September 15 2008 agreement was a watershed moment in Zimbabwe’s recent attempts to deal with its political, social and economic crises.

“The purpose of the GPA was to lay the foundations for a democratic Zimbabwe, with elections free from political violence,” he said.

“However the inclusion of the MDC-T and MDC in government meant that Zimbabwe no longer has a parliamentary opposition, thus making it imperative that civil society remains vigilant in articulating issues to do with civil and political rights and socio-economic rights.”

He said Zen believes that in spite of the high expectations surrounding the signing of the GPA, many of the terms contained in the document have still not been met.

“Zen is deeply concerned over deliberate attempts to delay, manipulate and politicise the (constitution making) process.

“Secondly Zen has been concerned about the increased violence linked to the constitutional outreach process,” said Olsen.

He said sanctions must stay until those issues are resolved.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo last night said the call was meant to disable Zanu PF while propping up other parties.

He said Zanu PF would not stand by and watch as NGOs interferein the internal affairs of the country.

“They want the sanctions to remain until their puppets are in power, but I can assure you that the puppets will never be in power, because they have no vision, no plan and no programme other than the so called good governance,” he said.

“But the amount of corruption in councils shows that they are not cable of good governance. We will however not sit idle as NGOs interfere. We are prepared to ban them.”

The powerful economic bloc of 27 countries, the EU, and its allies last February extended sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and over 200 of his inner cabal to force them to restore Zimbabwe to democracy.

The bloc is set to meet and decide on the course of action to take next month to decide whether to extend the sanctions or lift them.

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