The European Union yesterday extended its sanctions on Zimbabwe by a year saying that it will continue to closely follow developments in the country with a particular attention to the human rights situation.
EU sanctions on Zimbabwe are an arms embargo and assets freeze against the Zimbabwe Defence Industries. The last of the sanctions against individuals were lifted last year.
In a statement yesterday the EU was at pains to explain that the sanctions did not affect ordinary Zimbabweans.
“The remaining restrictive measures in place do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade,” the EU said.
“Zimbabwe continues to benefit from duty free and quota free access of its exports to the EU, while negotiations are ongoing to deepen the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement.
“There is significant potential in terms of investments and job opportunities, provided that the government promote political and economic reforms, facilitate a conducive and more predictable business environment, tackle corruption and foster respect for human rights and the rule of law.
“Together with EU member states the EU will continue to support Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 in particular on (i) Gender equality and women empowerment and (ii) Greener and climate smart agriculture, with over €400 million until 2025.”
The EU said it was pleased with the progress that Zimbabwe had made with the launch of the dialogue platform related to arrears clearance and debt resolution, its engagement on the Universal Periodic Review process, the alignment of legislation with the 2013 Constitution, the enactment of the Independent Complaints Commission Act, the new Marriages Act and the High-Level Political Compact on gender-based violence.
It was, however, not happy with the Data Protection Act, the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the envisaged “patriotic provisions” in the Criminal Law Amendment Bill.
The EU also expressed concern that the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry had not been followed substantially and the perpetrators of violations which occurred in August 2018 and January 2019 were to date still enjoying impunity from prosecution.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said last week Zimbabwe made its own laws for its own people so foreigners must keep out.
“We make laws which are good and which are needful to our country. We do not need the approval of foreigners from whatever quarter to write such laws. Foreigners must keep out, as we realise and fulfil our sovereignty through the laws we make for ourselves,” he said.
On the PVO bill which has been opposed by several non-governmental organisations as well as the West, Mnangagwa said: “No amount of foreign noises will stop the passing of the PVO law which, in any case, has gone through our Parliament comprising all the elected parties and representatives of our country.
“We do not enjoy democratic space or any of our freedoms through foreign NGOs; we enjoy them everyday in the very society we have founded and built through our own blood and struggles.”