There was a mixed reaction from partners in Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government to the revised European Union (EU) sanctions list unveiled last Friday.
The EU announced that it had lifted a travel ban and asset freeze on 51 individuals and 20 companies previously accused of aiding and abetting human rights abuses.
The sanctions were first imposed in 2002 in response to claims of electoral fraud and human rights violations by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
But the bloc has retained 112 people, among them Mugabe, and 11 companies on its travel and trade embargo list.
The EU’s 27 member states also extended an arms embargo and a freeze on development aid to Zimbabwe.
Former Cabinet minister and member of the Zanu PF politburo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who was delisted, described the move as “not impressive and a divide-and-rule tactic by imperialists”.
“We are not impressed at all,” he said. “The sanctions meant nothing to us as individuals.
“But the economic sanctions that hurt the country are the ones that should have been lifted.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party welcomed the delisting of some of the individuals, but insisted Zanu PF should take Zimbabwe back to the rule of law.
“We support the move of delisting some of those people, but we think the Zanu PF side of government must play its part in returning Zimbabwe to the rule of law.
“The delisting of (Justice minister) Patrick Chinamasa and (Foreign Affairs minister) Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is reasonable because these are people in the committees responsible for dialogue (with the EU),” he said.
MDC representatives could not be reached for comment.