Zimbabwe’s leaders who survived European Sanctions 10 days ago can be added to the current list of five “swiftly” if required, Britain’s Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Harriett Baldwin told the British Parliament yesterday.
The European Union, which published an adverse election report on the 2018 elections, was under pressure from Zimbabwe opposition parties and non-governmental organisations to toughen sanctions on Zimbabwe following last month’s violent demonstrations which resulted in several people being killed during the security clampdown to bring back order.
Some reports said as many as 17 people were killed.
The EU extended the sanctions to 20 February 2020 but did not add any person to the existing list which includes former President Robert Mugabe his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
It maintained suspended sanctions on Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief Phillip Valerio Sibanda, and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri.
Sanctions on Chiwenga and Shiri were imposed when they were commanders of the Defence Forces and Air Force, respectively.
The EU lifted sanctions on two former security chiefs, Augustine Chihuri who was in charge of the police and Happyton Bonyongwe who was in charge of intelligence.
Asked by Labour legislator Dan Jarvis yesterday what the effect of the sanctions were on Zimbabwe, Baldwin said: “We view EU restrictive measures as one of the tools to promote peace, democracy and the respect for the rule of law, human rights and international law.
“They are a tool used in conjunction with other methods, including political dialogue, as part of an integrated policy approach. They are targeted on specific individual and Zimbabwe Defence Industries and do no damage to the wider economy or the people of Zimbabwe.
“The UK and our EU partners continue to assess the appropriateness of sanctions in light of recent developments.
“The crackdown on demonstrations in January 2019, as well as the disproportionate use of force by the authorities, called into question the Zimbabwean Government’s commitment to uphold human rights and the rule of law.
“New listings can be swiftly adopted if required.”
The executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community yesterday called on the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe saying they are stifling development in the country.
She also said they were scaring away potential investors.