By John Chimunhu|
The European has all but ruled out lifting decade-old sanctions on Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe despite his victory claims being endorsed by a court manned by judges allegedly biased in his favour.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday the bloc “takes note” of the Constitutional Court declaration. However, she said the bloc “shares the serious concerns” raised by African Union, SADC and
independent local observers. Mugabe banned EU and all Western observers from monitoring the contested July 31 poll.
The initial reports said the vote had been marred by a shambolic voters roll with millions of ghost voters, the failure to register or exclusion of millions of young and exiled voters likely to vote MDC, vote buying by Mugabe, rabid propaganda favouring him in the state media, and the pro-Zanu PF military’s threats of a coup if anyone else won the election.
Ashton called for more democratic reforms to level the playing field for future elections, a demand likely to rattle Mugabe, who has refused to implement changes through three decades of misrule.
“The EU underlines the importance and need to continue strengthening reforms to ensure that future elections are fully transparent and credible as well as peaceful,” Ashton said. “The EU will review its relations with Zimbabwe, taking into account of all these factors. Our goal is to support the Zimbabwean people in achieving a more prosperous and democratic democratic Zimbabwe, as a sure foundation for the full normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the EU.”
The EU is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner outside Africa. It also plays host to millions of Zimbabwean refugees who fled Mugabe, whose regime has murdered tens of thousands of perceived opponents.
By John Chimunhu|