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Mugabe desperate for sanctions removal

by Staff reporter
17 Jul 2012 at 09:49hrs | Views
Zimbabwe wants to go for elections without the burden of sanctions and calls on the African Union to condemn and call for their removal, President Robert Mugabe has said.

Addressing the plenary of the 19th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly here, President Mugabe hailed the assistance rendered by Sadc, saying the AU should pick the gauntlet.

"My country is still labouring under the burden of illegal sanctions; although Sadc has done its best, we still have Europe imposing sanctions on us, America continuing to impose sanctions on us," he said.

"We would like to go for elections without sanctions, but there is no indication that there is a willingness on their part to get rid of these sanctions.

"May we get a word from this meeting that these sanctions are unjustified, these sanctions continue to impact on our people, these sanctions must go!"

Zimbabwe is expected to hold harmonised elections before June next year to signal the end of the inclusive Government that has outlived its set time frame.

Zanu-PF says the elections should be held as a matter of urgency since they are now overdue, while the MDC formations want them delayed.

The MDC formations argue that the harmonised elections should be held under a new constitution. Copac has missed a deadline to produce the new constitution by almost two years and hopes have since faded that the country will have it soon.

Zanu-PF has said that the elections could still be held under the current Constitution that hasbeen used to hold successful elections since independence in 1980.

The Non-Aligned Movement, Comesa and Sadc have since called for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western sanctions. The sanctions were imposed at the instigation of Britain which was angered by Zimbabwe's land reform programme that ensured equitable distribution of land. Meanwhile, the British are said to be lobbying for the extension of the sanctions, with Labour MP Peter Hain expected to move a motion in the British parliament today calling for the European Union to maintain the sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Mr Hain, who served as a junior minister under the Labour government of Mr Tony Blair, appeared irked by moves by the EU to suspend the sanctions and his motion will be seconded by another Labour MP, Ms Kate Hoey. The British MPs also want the sanctions to be extended to more Zimbabwean businesspeople and Chinese businessman Mr Simon Pa.

Last week, the EU agreed in principle to lift the embargo, but only if certain conditions were met. The conditions include the publication of a new constitution, the adoption of human rights laws, the holding of a successful referendum and the conduct of free elections.

Zanu-PF maintains that anything short of unconditional lifting of sanctions is not acceptable to Zimbabwe as the sanctions are illegal in the first place.

Source - TC