Fresh call for targeted sanctions to stay in place
by Irene Madongo
The Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) is renewing calls for targeted measures against Robert Mugabe and his inner circle to remain in place, saying key issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) have not been dealt with. Zen is made up of over 20 groups based in ten countries in Europe who work with the key civil society organisations in Zimbabwe.
The European Union and United States imposed the targeted sanctions after years of spiralling human rights abuses. Despite Mugabe’s ZANU PF launching a country-wide campaign to get the measures scrapped, ZEN insists they must stay in place.
On Tuesday Zen’s co-ordinator Tor Hugne Olsen said: “These measures should be kept in place until the provisions of the GPA have been fulfilled. security sector reform is quite vital in order to have a free and fair election. It’s necessary that you have a security sector that the population can trust and at the moment that is not the case.”
“Both the reports of army deployments in the country [are] worrying, particularly given what happened in 2008. In addition to that, of course, is the way the police [are] currently applying the law, which doesn’t seem to be equal to all the parties involved; and we would want to see changes both to the way the police and the way the army act.”
He added that reports of political violence are worrying for a country which is preparing to go to elections. GPA negotiators recently met and agreed that elections could be held around August next year.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) on Tuesday, also released a statement, calling for reform in the security sector. “ZESN is concerned with the fact that security sector reforms remain unresolved yet this is a critical issue on how the elections will be conducted as this will influence its outcome,” the statement read.
Members of Zimbabwe’s army and CIO are known for their active role in the political violence in the country. Recently a group of civic organisations released a report, the Military Factor in Zimbabwe, which showed that Mugabe’s party has used the military to oppress, maim and even kill political opponents. Army chiefs have also openly pledged their loyalty to Mugabe.
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