EU removes Grace Mugabe, vice-president and commander of Zimbabwe’s army, from sanctions list
The EU has lifted sanctions against Grace Mugabe.
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- Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s second-in-command and army chief, has been removed from the European Union sanctions list.
- Zanu-PF says this is a diplomatic victory for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
- The EU noted with concern Zimbabwe’s failure to improve its democracy and human rights record.
The European Union (EU) has lifted the targeted sanctions already suspended against the last three Zimbabwean public officials and politicians on the list.
They are Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, who led the military coup that ousted the late Robert Mugabe; Mugabe’s widow, Grace; and the current army boss, General Valerio Sibanda.
Sanctions against Chiwenga and Sibanda were suspended in 2014, and the suspension of sanctions against Grace Mugabe came six years later, in 2020 – a year after her husband’s death.
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They had been on the sanctions list since 2002 for political violence, human rights abuses and failure to hold free and fair elections. Initially, in 2002, the list of sanctions included nearly 200 people and around 30 companies and public services. Only one company, arms manufacturing and supply company Zimbabwe Defense Industries, remains on the list with its assets frozen.
In a statement, the EU said it “reiterates its ambition for a more constructive relationship with Zimbabwe at all levels”.
In response, Zanu-PF “took note of the progressive decision” but called for “the unconditional lifting of all sanctions”. He said it was a diplomatic victory for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
However, the EU expressed concern about Zimbabwe’s human rights and democracy record.
The EU said:
The situation in terms of respect for human rights has not improved in Zimbabwe. Intimidation of the political opposition and other critics of the government continued in the democratic and civic space.
On Sunday, Zimbabwe’s main political parties, the ruling Zanu-PF and the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), formerly Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, held rallies ahead of March’s by-elections.
But the CCC rally, unlike the Zanu-PF rally, was not covered by the state-controlled broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Additionally, at least more than 100 CCC supporters have been arrested for organizing “car rallies” or carrying out door-to-door campaigns.
The EU said it would continue to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe.
“The EU will continue to follow developments closely, paying particular attention to the human rights situation, and reiterates its readiness to review and adapt all of its policies in consequence,” the EU statement said.
As part of its campaign, Zanu-PF says EU sanctions as well as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, a law enacted by the US to support its embargo on Zimbabwe, are affecting Zimbabweans ordinary. Like the US, the EU said that was not true.
“The measures in place are targeted and very limited, so they do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, their economy, foreign direct investment or trade,” the EU said.
President Mnangagwa attended the EU-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium last week.
Upon his return, he said the campaign for re-engagement with the EU was hopeful.
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