PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, who is accused of a litany of human rights abuses as well as electoral malpractices, has agreed to foreign funding for programmes that promote the rule of law in the country, it has emerged.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Since a credible opposition to his long rule emerged at the turn of the century, Mugabe has accused civil society groups agitating for the upholding of human rights in the country of pushing a Western agenda for regime change.
In a statement this week the European Union (EU) delegation in Harare announced it was partnering Mugabe’s administration with an injection of $2,5 million in support.
“In pursuit of improved promotion and protection of human rights, the European Union in Zimbabwe, together with the government of Zimbabwe, has launched a new call for proposals to support the rule of law through justice sector reforms and increased access to justice for all,” the statement said.
“In total, the EU is providing ₧2 300 000 ($2 579 343) for proposals that aim at supporting the rule of law through justice sector reforms and increased access to justice for all, and that specifically enhance the capacity of all people, especially women and vulnerable groups, to exercise their rights and access to justice.”
In March, Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba reacted angrily to an EU announcement that it had set aside $5 million in support for civil society involvement in pro-democracy activities.
“… monies related to political NGOs were kept in the kitty strategically for disbursements in 2017, that is under a year to elections. One has to be very dumb to think that this was sheer European slothfulness. Quite to the contrary, it was a calculated delay meant to ensure fresh resources to these political NGOs as near enough to the elections as was possible,” Charamba fumed.
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The EU said, the latest call will be launched in the framework of the 11th European Development Fund development co-operation strategy known as the National Indicative Plan, signed between the EU and the government of Zimbabwe on February 16, 2015 to which ₧12 million is allocated to the justice sector through the “Support to the Rule of Law and Access to Justice for All”.
“Civil society is recognised in the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific)-EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement, as having an important role in development and co-operation,” the EU said.
Charamba has previously accused the EU of using the Cotonou Agreement’s to punish Zimbabwe with “illegal sanctions”.
The EU resumed full coperation with Zimbabwe in 2015 after years of frosty relations over electoral fraud, rights abuses and bad governance.