Zim minister, UK envoy 'clash' over continued sanctions on Mugabes

2017-02-12 06:30
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. (File: AFP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. (File: AFP)

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Harare - A Zimbabwean minister Supa Mandiwanzira has reportedly clashed with the United Kingdom ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing over the continued sanctions on the Mugabes.

President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace remain the only Zimbabweans on the European Union's sanction list, reported New Zimbabwe.

In a heated meeting in the capital Harare, the Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Mandiwanzira told the UK ambassador to urge her government to remove what he called a "political risk".

He said that the Mugabes were the most important people in the country.

"I must say that we did not quite agree on the issues of sanctions that there are those who have been taken off and only two people remain. These are the most important people in our country, and you can remove sanctions against Supa Mandiwanzira, and or this other minister and that permanent secretary, but for as long as the president and his wife remain on these sanctions it gives an impression and picture of that there is too much political risk," Mandiwanzira was quoted saying.

'Common position'

But, Liang said that the sanctions were a European Union policy, as a result, despite having influence within the group there was little room the UK government could manoeuvre.  

Following the controversial Brexit last year, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philip Van Damme, said that Britain's exit (Brexit) from the bloc did  not change its position on the southern African country.

Van Damme emphasised that the bloc had a "common" position, thus, all member states were following the same policies.

"Individual member states do not impose anything and nothing changes if any member state may or may not leave EU. We have a shared vision and that vision is based on objective facts and an analysis of the situation," Van Damme was quoted as saying at the time.

The EU first imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 over its rights record, but decided to ease them in the hope that this would encourage Mugabe, 92, to introduce some measure of reform.

But, in 2015, when the Zimbabwean strongman was taking up the one-year rotating chairmanship of the African Union said that he cared little for what the West might say.

"If they want to continue it's up to them but these sanctions are wrong," he said at the time, adding: "If Europe comes in the spirit to co-operate and not the spirit to control us and control our ways, they will be very welcome."

Read more on:    eu  |  grace mugabe  |  robert mugabe  |  uk  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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