ZIMBABWE – Millions of Zimbabweans want targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his Zanu-PF inner circle to stay.
A poll on Zimbabwe Prime Minister’s website CLICK HERE shows over 60% of Zimbabweans want targeted sanctions to stay.
Zimbabweans from all walks of life surveyed recently have also indicated their unwavering support for the restrictive measures on Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.
The ‘civilised’ world slapped Mugabe and his inner circle with crippling sanctions in 2000 following years of Human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe’s party. Mugabe accuses the west of pursuing a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.
However, many Zimbabweans mantain the targeted sanctions against Mugabe should never be lifted for obvious reasons.Mugabe and his party have lost every single election since 2000 and have only managed to stay in power through what many call ‘hook and crook’.
In 2008, Mugabe lost to then opposition leader an now Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai and decided to withold the results for weeks while he and his henchmen massaged the figures which still even after the rigging confirmed Morgan Tsvangirai had won but only with what they called ‘not enough votes’ hence triggering a run-off which Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted.
Mugabe mostly misses travelling to the west where his young wife enjoyed spending Zimbabwe’s hard earned dollars at the high profile Harrods in London thanks to travel bans imposed on Mugabe and his family, a part of the targeted sanctions package.
Meanwhile, in a spirit of friendship, MDC secretary-general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti has implored the West to lift sanctions imposed following President Mugabe’s human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Minister Biti told reporters after delivering a lecture at Carleton University in Ottawa on Tuesday that it did not make sense to isolate the Mugabe who leads the inclusive Government formed in 2009.
He said the isolationist policy was no longer useful. “The use of sanctions and isolation (against President Mugabe), I think they’ve outlived their usefulness,” he told a Canadian paper, the Globe and Mail.
Reports say Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told Mr Biti that Canada was not ready to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and some officials.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mr Rick Roth said his Government made it clear during a private meeting between ministers Baird and Biti that sanctions would not go soon. Mr Roth said the sanctions regime was always under review.
Mr Roth, however, acknowledged that Minister Biti gave Minister Baird an update on financial and political reforms in Zimbabwe.
However, Minister Baird said Canada wanted to see Zimbabwe’s new Constitution finalised and the holding of free and fair elections.
These are the same conditions all the European Union members are setting to lift the targeted sanctions. Minister Biti urged Canada to soften its stance on Zimbabwe.
“Canada is such an important country and has been an important country over the years, that it must be engaged in Africa and in the difficult places over the world,” Minister Biti was reported as having said in the Globe and Mail.
Recently, Minister Biti wrote to the United States Treasury Department protesting against the inclusion of diamond firms, among them Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources, on the sanctions list. The companies are partnering the Government-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation that is already on the US sanctions list, to mine diamonds in Marange.
Minister Biti told Assistant US Treasury Secretary Charles Collyns that the US actions were counterproductive.
“It would be curious to find out the motive of your decision against the two companies. Your decision will not stop the mining that is a sovereign issue covered by international law.
“Most importantly, it will not stop the sale of diamonds. All it does is to encourage more opaqueness and underwriting of the diamond industry . . . this is a self-defeating and retrogressive position; one which I hope was not taken to placate powerful interests who were against the Kinshasa agreement.”
Minister Biti flies to London from Canada to speak at Friday’s ZimInvest London 2013 Fair which aims to promote Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination. Observers say all MDC formations should join hands and campaign for the removal of the sanctions.