By Alois Vinga
THE European Union (EU) Delegation to Zimbabwe has castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa for leaving military officers who shot dead six civilians scot-free amid calls for the holding of peaceful elections in July.
Despite Harare’s commitment to the international re-engagement agenda which recently saw Mnangagwa extending yet another elections observation invitation to the Western bloc despite persistent backlash, the EU piled pressure on Mnangagwa over outstanding legacy issues ahead of the 2023 polls.
“The EU also maintains its concerns that the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry have not been followed substantially and the perspective of violations which occurred in August 2018 and January 2019 are to date still enjoying impunity from prosecution.
“It is important that international human rights obligations are adhered to and constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe respected,” the delegation said.
The 27 European countries amalgamated said it will deploy an Observer Mission once constitutional processes have been finalised.
The delegation stressed that it is closely following the process leading up to the elections which are of great importance to the trajectory of the country and encouraged all electoral stakeholders, state, and non- state alike, to play their role in ensuring the organisation of a credible and peaceful electoral process.
While commending Mnangagwa’s administration for launching a dialogue platform related to arrears clearance and debt resolution process forward to tangible progress in the engagement to the Universal Periodic Review Process, the enactment of the Independent Complaints Commission Act and the New Marriages Act and the High-Level Political Compact on gender-based violence, the EU expressed grave concerns over some legislative pieces.
“Other developments are of concern from a democratic and civic space perspective. These include the Data Protection Act and if enacted, bills such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the envisaged patriotic provisions in the Criminal Law Amendment Bill.
“It is important that international human rights obligations are adhered to and constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe respected,” said the EU.
Contrary to Harare’s argument that sanctions are choking the existence of the ordinary citizens, the delegation said the measures in place so far are focussed on an arms embargo targeting Zimbabwe Defence Industries with no individuals targeted.
The delegation added that Zimbabwe continues to benefit from duty free and quota free access of its exports to the EU while negotiations are on-going to deepen the Eastern and Southern Africa Economic Partnership Agreement.
“There is significant of investments and job opportunities provided that the government promotes the 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,” added EU.