President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party on Wednesday refused to reveal what it intends to do with the two million signatures it has been collecting in its anti-sanctions campaign.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said what the party intended to do with the signatures would remain confidential until they finished compiling the data.
“We will advise you when we complete compiling the data how we intend to petition the European Union, the United States of America and other countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to lift these sanctions,” said Gumbo. “We would not have done this whole process if it was not going to be effective.”
However, Charles Mangongera, a political commentator, and Lovemore Madhuku, chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly, said the exercise was a “waste of time”.
Madhuku said it was mere politicking.
“It is quite obvious that the signatures have nothing to do with the change of behaviour of those countries. It is just a political action by Zanu PF to mobilise people and yet they know this will not change anything,” said Madhuku.
Mangongera said the position taken by those countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe would not change even if Zanu PF “were to collect 40 million signatures” because their concern was change of conduct by President Mugabe and his party.
“Their concern is that there are certain things not happening on the ground that they would like to see. For example, one of the major objectives of the GPA was to create conditions where Zimbabweans are free to express themselves and exercise their civil liberties, simple things such as worshipping freely and refraining from questioning journalists in terms of their sources of stories,” said Mangongera.
He said these were violations of people’s rights and the countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe wanted to see that changed before they lifted the sanctions.
“If the government of Zimbabwe does not do that, the sanctions are not going to be lifted. Those are also the issues that Sadc demanded to see changed on March 31 in Zambia. Zanu PF can even include other signatures from Sadc countries but as long as they do not change their behaviour, the sanctions will not be lifted,” Mangongera said.