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Don’t legitimize Mugabe regime, Zimvigil warns the EU
Mthulisi Mathuthu, SW Radio Africa
December 03, 2013

View this article on the SW Radio Africa website

As the EU appears headed towards lifting the remaining targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his cabal the member states have been urged to consider their move in the light of the worsening situation in the country.

The Zimbabwe Vigil said it was launching a campaign to ‘alert British MPs and other opinion formers’ to the ‘deteriorating situation’ ahead of the February 2014 meeting during which the EU will review the measures.

In a statement on Sunday the Vigil said it was doing so after ‘a number of EU leaders made it clear’ they favored ‘normalizing’ relations with Harare.

Only last week Greece caused indignation when its new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Leonidas Contovounesios, revealed that his country wants the restrictive measures removed by 2014 when it assumes the EU presidency.

SW Radio also reported last week about a German firm Wilhelm Guth Ventiltechnik which has been supplying components to Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairy Estate for the past four years, in contravention of the EU trade ban.

The Vigil said following ‘Belgium’s successful demand’ to lift the sanctions against the ‘dubious’ Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation it will be ‘difficult’ for Britain to hold the fort, hence the campaign. Vigil coordinator Rose Benton told SW Radio Africa that the organisation will be meeting ‘soon’ to discuss alternatives of spreading the campaign to the rest of the member states.

Benton said the campaign was part of the recommendations which came out of its ‘Restore Zimbabwe’ all-stakeholders conference held in London two months ago.

The London-based group said even if the EU was to lift the sanctions next February, it is the Vigil’s ‘intention is to stress Mugabe’s illegitimacy because after all individual member states decide who to ‘deal with’.

The EU imposed restrictive measures against Mugabe and his inner circle in February 2002 following the expulsion of the head of the EU observer mission Pierre Schori, amid an increase in human rights violations. However, over the years the measures have been carefully relaxed in response to specific reforms and in some cases travel bans have been lifted against certain individuals.

Presently 10 individuals, including Mugabe and one company, remain on the EU restrictive measures list.

However, the Vigil believes that there should be no further relaxation of the restrictive measures because Mugabe remains an ‘illegitimate leader’.

The Vigil says it believes the July 31st elections were rigged and is ‘seeking’ help from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the International Bar Association to prove its case. In letter to British MPs the Vigil says the Zanu-PF mafia is ‘clinging to power despite wrong-headed policies that have destroyed the economy and driven millions into exile’. The Vigil sees Zimbabwe lurching towards ‘North Korean-type siege mentality’ as ‘acts of violence, looting and intimidation by predatory gangs’ escalate.

The letter cites the revelations in Zanu-PF business man Philip Chiyangwa’s divorce case as ‘an insight into the depths of corruption in the Zimbabwean mafia.’

In this case Chiyangwa’s wife is demanding a share in assets, which include a range of properties and a fleet of luxury cars, farms and buildings, indicating the scale of the wealth of the Zanu-PF elite.

The Vigil has been demonstrating outside Zimbabwe House in London every weekend for the last 11 years, campaigning for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

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