European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen has been at pains over the past few days to explain away EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
He says EU sanctions on Zimbabwe apply to only two individuals, former President Robert Mugabe and his wife, and one company, the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
These sanctions, he argues, have therefore nothing to do with the present economic crisis in the country and are definitely not hurting the ordinary Zimbabwean.
While a number of Zimbabweans agree with the EU ambassador, one must ask whether some heads of 16 Southern African countries are so daft as not to realise that sanctions are only affecting two people that they can declare a day to protest against sanctions on Zimbabwe.
In fact, a statement from the EU following SADC’s decision calling for an end to sanctions because they were not only affecting Zimbabweans but the region as a whole is telling.
The statement said: “The EU is not imposing economic or trade sanctions against Zimbabwe. The EU shares the opinion expressed by a number of international organisations whereby the main cause of the serious social and economic crisis which Zimbabwe is experiencing should be sought in inappropriate economic policies, the manner in which the land reform has been carried out, the drought and the HIV/AIDS pandemic;
“The measures adopted by the EU, as a result of the breakdown of the rule of law and human rights abuses, are the freezing of personal assets of senior members of government and other high-ranking officials, the prevention of the same to travel to EU Member States and the embargo on the sale of arms. None of these measures could affect or cause any hardship to the Zimbabwean population.”
But the third point was quite revealing. It said: “the suspension or re-orientation of certain financial and development cooperation programmes with the Government of Zimbabwe is mainly due to the fact that it has not complied with the provisions of the pertinent bilateral agreements and to the political and economic environment which is not conducive to development cooperation with government structures.”
Can one really argue that this does not affect ordinary Zimbabweans? That is only affects Mugabe and his wife and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries?
As one black comedian, Eddie Griffin, says: “Think. It aint illegal yet. But they are working on it.”