The European Union — led by Britain — wants to re-activate sanctions against Zimbabwe’s security sector as part of its strategy to floor the ruling Zanu-PF Government in the 2018 general election.
Last month, the British government pushed through the EU Council an article that kept five security chiefs on the bloc’s “suspended list” of sanctions and removed 78 individuals and eight institutions.
On the list are Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commader Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri, Central Intelligence Organisation Director-General Happyton Bonyongwe and Airforce of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshall Perence Shiri.
Although the EU continues to publicly state that only President Mugabe, First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and Zimbabwe Defence Industries are on “restrictive measures”, it has emerged that the grouping placed service chiefs on “suspended sanctions” so as to reactivate them come election time.
Previous British Parliament reports show that Britain is among the few EU members openly opposed to scrapping the sanctions on Zimbabwe, and at one point, British Minister of State (Foreign Office) Mr David Lidington admitted as much, even revealing that his government was fighting a lone battle.
A recent British House of Commons committee report states that the government there acknowledges Zimbabwe’s “relatively stable human rights situation” and Zanu-PF’s “reformist policies”.
It then plays in its mantra of “assisting the people of Zimbabwe to exercise their democratic right”, and this primarily involves an attempt to weaken the security establishment.
Part of the report tabled to the EU Scrutiny Committee reads, “Since the 2013 elections, our assessment of the political situation in Zimbabwe remains broadly the same, with 2015 signalling some positive developments.
“Within the Zimbabwe African National Union administration, there are signs of reformist policies beginning to emerge, especially on the economy. The human rights situation has remained relatively stable and reported violations continue to fall.”
It goes on to state: “However, the situation continues to be fragile and we remain concerned about human rights abuses, especially during election periods. Ahead of the 2018 elections, it is critical that electoral reforms are implemented, and that the international community supports the people of Zimbabwe in exercising their democratic right to build a free, peaceful and prosperous future.
“Based on the above, we have focussed our efforts on a more targeted list of those individuals most closely linked to the security forces: Augustine Chihuri (Police Commissioner-General), Constantine Chiwenga (Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces), Happyton Mabhuya Bonyongwe (Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation), Perence Samson Chikerema Shiri (Air Marshall) and Phillip Valerio Sibanda (Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army). Retaining these individuals on the suspended list makes it easier to reactivate the restrictive measures should it be necessary.”
For 15 years, Britain has vilified Zimbabwe following implementation of reforms that corrected colonial land imbalances and empowered previously-disadvantaged indigenes of the Southern African state.
London pulled the EU and several Western governments to its corner to support economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, although such negativity is now fading in Europe.
Opposition elements, especially the MDC-T, continue to demand security sector “reforms”, no doubt at their Western handlers’ instigation.
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