Wallace Ruzvidzo, Harare Bureau
Political analysts have hailed the decision made by the European Union (EU) to remove top Government officials from its sanctions list, a move which is expected to ensure more constructive relations between the grouping and Zimbabwe.
The decision to review sanctions against Zimbabwe is a first since former colonial power, Britain, which drummed up support for the sanctions initially imposed in 2002, formally withdrew from the EU.
In an interview yesterday, political analyst Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa said the move by the EU had laid a foundation for positive bilateral cooperation. Ambassador Mutsvangwa said the lifting of the illegal embargo marked the end of a “post-colonial hangover” as the EU pledged support for economic and political reforms in the country.
“It is a good and positive gesture. It removes the post-colonial hangover in bilateral relations. The EU at its core is made up of the 1884 Berlin Conference powers of the imperial partition of Africa.
“Hopefully the latest gesture can open a new chapter and lay a sound foundation of positive cooperation in the domain of defence and security,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.
He called on the EU to lift all sanctions imposed on the country as they were detrimental to President Mnangagwa’s policy of engagement and re-engagement.
“A wholesome relationship with the luminaries of the national liberation movement is a good start in the right direction. The EU Council of Ministers deserve plaudits even as we call on them to go all the way to the lifting of anachronistic sanctions. They have no place in the agenda of re-engagement espoused by President ED Mnangagwa and the New Dispensation,” he said.
MDC-T legislator Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the move by the EU was a clear message that they wanted to mend bilateral relations with Zimbabwe.
“I think it is a message that we want to engage. Government should take this opportunity to push for the immediate scaling up of the Article 96 negotiations to ministerial level and the negotiations should be focused and supported by a committed technical team.
“There is a message in this and the ball is in Government’s court,” said Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Another political analyst, Mr Obert Gutu, welcomed the development saying it was only a matter of time before all sanctions imposed on the country are lifted. Mr Gutu said it was imperative that the sanctions are lifted as Government was in the process of making necessary political, electoral and media reforms.
“What is important to note is the fact that the EU sanctions against Zimbabwe are definitely on their way out. The sanctions are slowly but surely being removed and no rocket science is needed to appreciate that it’s just a matter of time before all forms of sanctions that were imposed against Zimbabwe by the EU are removed completely.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has made it abundantly clear that it is committed to undertake all the necessary political, electoral and media reforms necessary to repackage and rebrand Zimbabwe as a progressive and democratic nation state,” said Mr Gutu.
He added: “I am pretty confident that the Government is sincere in ensuring that the pariah state tag that continues to haunt Zimbabwe is cleansed and that all Zimbabweans, across the political, religious, racial and ethnic divide, enjoy their full rights as clearly set out in the supreme law of the land.”
LEAD president Mrs Linda Masarira-Kaingidze was sceptical as she questioned the integrity of the bloc. Chronicle