The European Union will lift sanctions on Zimbabwe if African observers declare the elections, due at the end of this month, to be free and fair, EU ambassador to South Africa Roeland van de Geer said yesterday.
“If the outcome of the elections is clear, is accepted, who are we, all Europeans, to say… we continue with our sanctions, but it has to be clear, that’s true,” he said.
Only 10 individuals and two state-owned companies remain on the European Union sanctions.
The EU lifted sanctions the bulk of the sanctions in March, shortly after the referendum on the new constitution, leaving only President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and ZANU-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
The remainder were associated with the security services:
- Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga,
- Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda,
- Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Perrence Shiri,
- ZNA Chief of Staff Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba,
- Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri,
- Central Intelligence Organisation Director-General Happyton Bonyongwe. and
- Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Jabulani Sibanda.
The two enterprises still on the list are the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries both involved in diamond mining with the ZMDC being the key player at it is the joint venture partner in almost all the operations in Marange.
Belgium pressed for the lifting of the sanctions because it said it was losing out on Zimbabwe’s diamonds.
Zimbabwe is now the fourth largest producer of diamonds but it is selling its diamonds at below 25 percent of the normal price because of sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States.
But there is growing sentiment that the West is under pressure to lift sanctions, even without the reforms it previously demanded, because it is losing out on Zimbabwe’s wealth to countries like China, now the world’s second largest economy but with vast cash resources.
The key observers to the elections will be the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
SADC has already been accused of being too soft on Mugabe and has allowed the elections to go-ahead although key reforms it recommended have not been implemented.
The African Union delegation will be headed by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who was at one time a mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, and was accused of being pro Mugabe