The European Union has lifted travel restrictions on 35 associates of President Robert Mugabe but maintained the restrictive measures on the President and his inner circle for another year.
Those that have received the EU sanctions relief also had a freeze on their assets lifted.
Emilio Rosetti, the first secretary of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe, announced the development in Harare on Tuesday and said names of those delisted would be released on Wednesday.
However, diplomatic sources revealed President Mugabe’s sister, Sabina, Assistant Commissioner Thomsen Jangara, former Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi and Thenjiwe Lesabe, all of whom are deceased, had been removed from the list.
Also off the sanctions list are spouses of several Zanu PF and security chiefs, among them Willia Bonyongwe, chairperson of the Securities Commission and wife of the Central Intelligence Organisation director-general, Happyton Bonyongwe, Anne Flora Chairuka, who is married to the Commander of the Zimbabwe Prison Service, Paradzai Zimondi and Rudo Grace Charamba, wife of Presidential spokesman George Charamba.
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri’s wife, Isobel Halima, is also now free to travel to Europe and so is Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono’s wife, Helen.
Tsitsi Chihuri, wife of Minister of State Security in the President’s office Sydney Sekeramayi, Choice Parirenyatwa, former Health minister David Parirenyatwa’s wife, and Patricia Made, Agriculture minister Joseph Made’s spouse, have also been removed from the list.
Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president Fortune Charumbira, former Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Abigail Damasane, Peter Chingoka, the president of Zimbabwe Cricket, Lazarus Dokora the Deputy Minister of Education, Victoria Chitepo, a politburo member, Samuel Undenge the Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development are all off the sanctions list.
Former Attorney General Sobusa Gula Ndebele, former Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde, Zanu PF politburo member Kumbirai Kangai, Aguy Georgias, the Deputy Minister of Public Works, Theophilus Gambe, the chairperson of the Electoral Supervisory Commission, former Finance and Economic Development minister Chris Kuruneri have also benefited.
Deputy Senate president Naison Ndlovu, Zanu PF politburo members Joshua Malinga, Richard Ndlovu, George Nyathi, Khantibhal Patel, Selina Pote, Zvishavane Ngezi MP Obert Matshalaga, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Tracey Mutinhiri, Melusi Matshiya, the secretary for Home Affairs, and Timothy Stamps, health advisor to the President, are also free.
Zimbabwe now has 163 people and 31 businesses which are still linked to human rights abuses, the undermining of democracy or the abuse of the rule of law.
The EU said it had noted the significant progress made in addressing the economic crisis and improving the delivery of basic social services, which the bloc had assisted to the tune of £365 million.
“However, economic and social developments have not been matched by equivalent progress on the political front. Further reforms are necessary with regard to the respect of rule of law, human rights and democracy which are essential in order to create an environment conducive to the holding of credible elections,” said Rosetti.
He was reading from a speech by Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief.
“We have therefore decided to extend by a period of one year the measures, consisting of (i) a visa ban and asset freeze relating to a list of named individuals and businesses; (ii) an arms embargo; and (iii) other measures, taken within the context of Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement.”