EU extends two sanctions measures; welcomes 2023 election invite but flags Motlanthe Commission failures

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By UK Correspondent

THE European Union (EU) has extended the two remaining sanctions measures against Zimbabwe and welcomed a planned invitation to observe this year’s crunch elections but expressed concern over the lack of Motlanthe Commission progress.

In a statement Tuesday the EU’s High Representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrell said the block “welcomes the intention of Zimbabwe’s President to extend an invitation to the EU to deploy an Electoral Observation Mission for the 2023 Elections once constitutional processes have been finalised.

“The EU follows closely the process leading up to the elections, which are of great importance to the trajectory of the country. The EU encourages all electoral stakeholders, state and non-state alike, to play their role in ensuring the organisation of a credible and peaceful electoral process.”

He added; “the EU Election Observation Mission of 2018 provided a set of recommendations and encourages actors to continue improving the electoral framework to allow for credible, inclusive and transparent elections.”

Borrell however, expressed concern over lack of progress in implementing the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after soldiers killed six civilians on the streets of Harare as violence rocked the capital after the disputed outcome of the July 2018 elections.


The EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell

“The EU also maintains its concerns that the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry have not been followed substantially and the perpetrators of violations which occurred in August 2018 and January 2019 are to date still enjoying impunity from prosecution,” said Borrell in his statement.

“It is important that international human rights obligations are adhered to and the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe respected.”

In view of this, as well as other “developments are of concern from a democratic and civic space perspective”, the EU said it was extending by another year its remaining sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“In view of all the above, in its 2023 revision of the restrictive measures, the EU has decided to extend by one year the two measures in place (i.e.: the arms embargo and targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries),” reads the statement.

“Since February 2022 there are no listed individuals. The EU will continue to closely follow developments, with a particular attention to the human rights situation and recalls its readiness to adapt the whole range of its policies accordingly.”

The EU insisted that remaining sanctions do not constrain the country economically, insisting that Harare continued to benefit from EU financial support and duty free access to its market.

Said Borrell, “The remaining restrictive measures in place do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade. Zimbabwe continues to benefit from duty free and quota free access of its exports to the EU, while negotiations are ongoing to deepen the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement.

“Together with EU members states the EU will continue to support Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 in particular on (i) Gender equality and women empowerment and (ii) Greener and climate smart agriculture, with over €400 million until 2025.”