By Peter Bolder|
The European Union has threatened to cut aid to Zimbabwe if president Robert Mugabe does not account for missing political activist Itai Dzamara.
The Occupy Africa Unity Square leader was kidnapped by state security agents in March after staging peaceful street protests, calling on the dictator to resign for failing to implement political reforms and to run the economy.
The EU, Zimbabwe’s largest aid donor accounting for more than $1 billion in financial help since 2009, has issued the strongest warning yet that it is going to impose sanctions if the Dzamara case is not resolved.
“Human rights remain a pillar of all our bilateral relationships,” the EU mission in Zimbabwe said Monday in an unusually tough statement marking 60 days since Dzamara’s forced disappearance March 9.
“The EU reiterates its call on the government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts, safeguard his well-being and accord him the full protection of the law, within its overall responsibilities of ensuring the safety of all its citizens,” said the EU statement, issued in agreement with EU heads of mission in Zimbabwe and in association with the embassies of Norway and Switzerland.
The EU called on the government of Zimbabwe to “ensure that those responsible for the abduction of Mr Dzamara are brought to justice”. The EU also demanded “regular and thorough progress reports”, an order made by the High Court in March but totally ignored by the Mugabe regime.
“We will continue to watch progress on this case closely,” the EU said.
European activists are lobbying the EU to cancel a $270 million aid package announced for Zimbabwe in February. Under the deal, €88 million has been set aside for agriculture, €88 million for health and €45 million for governance and strengthening institutions.
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