Harare, February 19, 2013 – The European Union has removed eight Zanu (PF) ministers from the sanctions list.
The eight are Webster Shamu, Patrick Chinamasa, Stembiso Nyoni, Walter Mzembi, Herbert Mrerwa, Simbarashe Mbengegwi, Francis Nhema, and Sylvester Nguni.
But Zanu (PF) spokesman, Rugare Gumbo immediately rubbished the move, saying:
“This is nonsensical and a non event,” Gumbo told Radio VOP in Harare Monday.”We want a wholesome removal of sanctions because they are illegal. They were not agreed upon even by the United Nations. Why are they selectively removing these illegal sanctions?”
“What has referendum has to do with sanctions? As a party will continue advocating for their removal despite what the EU is saying,” Gumbo said.
The EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Del Aricia said the EU had delisted 21 persons and one entity.
He did not mention their names although that list includes the late Vice President John Nkomo.
The decision to remove the ministers from the blacklist was made by the EU’s foreign affairs council ministers at a meeting held in Brussels on Monday.
The EU ambassador said the European bloc was happy with the agreement on a constitutional referendum by all the three parties in the coalition government.
“This step forward in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement adds further momentum to the reform process and paves the way for the holding of peaceful, transparent and credible elections later this year,” read a statement from the Council of the European Union.
The EU said it is also encouraged by the commitment of the South African facilitation team and Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the support they are giving to the Zimbabwean parties in implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the SADC roadmap.
Zimbabwe will hold a constitutional referendum on March 16.
The draft document is mostly likely sail through because all the major parties are supporting it. However, the National Constitutional Assembly led by Professor Lovemore Madhuku is campaigning against the draft document.
Madhuku will on Tuesday petition the High Court to extend the date of the referendum.
Zanu (PF) wants the referendum to be held in a peaceful manner.
Gumbo said: “There is certainly no good reason why people should be engaged in violence.
“The draft constitution is home grown, people driven and crafted by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans. It may not be perfect but it is enough to meet the exigencies of the current situation,” said Gumbo.