Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
The SADC Heads of State and Government summit scheduled for this weekend in Dar e Salaam, Tanzania, is expected to push for the removal of illegal and ruinous sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West in the last two decades.
Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Professor Palamagamba Kabudi told journalists in Dar e Salaam on Wednesday, that the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe would be one of the recommendations to be presented to the regional leaders during the summit, which President Mnangagwa is set to attend and assume the chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
Prof Kabudi believes the circumstances that caused the West to impose sanctions have dramatically changed, especially following the holding of harmonised elections certified as free and fair by most objective election observers.
“The situation in Zimbabwe has normalised with the recent successful elections and a new political dispensation,” he said.
While the European Union (EU) has been relaxing its stance on sanctions since year 2000, the US has largely maintained the punitive measures, curtailing economic development.
In February, the MDC-Alliance tried to push the EU into widening the sanctions net following the violent demonstrations it organised with the help of its civil society partners, but the bloc stood its ground and refused, preferring to give political talks a chance.
Political talks between Zimbabwe and the EU begun in June this year and are expected to continue in November, as the two sides seek to find each other following almost 20 years of strained relations.
Said the EU head of policy Mr Federica Mogherini in February: “On Zimbabwe, there was a council decision today to uphold the embargo and restrictive measures against the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, to uphold individual restrictive measures against (former President) Robert Mugabe and (his wife) Grace, to uphold suspended individual measures against the Vice President (Constantino Chiwenga) the Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces (Philip Valerio Sibanda), the Minister of Lands and Agriculture (Perrance Shiri) and to lift two individual measures (Augustine Chihuri and Happyton Bonyongwe).”