ICG Calls For Zimbabwe's Further Isolation

Written by Frank Chikowore The International Crisis Group (ICG) has released a damning report on Zimbabwe challenging the international community not to relax travel and financial sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party officials until the situation in the country improves.

President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and other top Zanu PF and government officials were slapped with targetted sanctions by the European Union following a series of human rights vilaotions. Mugabe's administration stands accused of dispacing hundreds of white-commercial farmers and their workers from their properties during its chaotic land reforms. Farm equipment was also looted from the farms but no compensation has been paid by government to the disadvantaged farmers - most of whom have left Zimbabwe. The report, dubbed ‘Zimbabwe’s continuing Self-Destruction’, was released on Tuesday. “While tactical engagement by non-African governments with those very few more reform-oriented figures within ZANU-PF may have merit, there should be no relaxation of travel bans or financial sanctions in place against key members of the regime or any developmental assistance until there is real change on the ground,” reads part of the report, a copy of which was obtained by this website. The call to further isolate Zimbabwe comes ahead of presidential elections scheduled in the next eighteen months that the Zanu PF government, according to the document, wants to avoid by using the legislature that it controls to a “transitional presidency” and appoint a successor to Robert Mugabe. Zanu PF enjoys a two-thirds majority in both the House of Assembly and the newly re-introduced upperhouse, the Senate. The report claims that there is a succession race between Vice President Joice Mujuru and a faction led by former parliamentary speaker and Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa ICG blames Zanu PF’s policies, corruption and repressive governance for the severe economic slide, growing public discontent and international isolation. The international human rights body’s report also challenges the heads of state and governments to take action on the Zimbabwe situation during the forthcoming African Union summit. “The July 2006 summit of African heads of state and government offers an opportunity to mobilise continental leaders behind a call for urgent action to protect human rights in Zimbabwe and regional stability”. ICG’s statement urged Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change party to unite and put aside their leadership differences. “Unless the opposition can put aside its feuds and coalesce around a unified position, it will be difficult to maximise domestic pressure on ZANU-PF to change its approach.” The human rights body praised United nations secretary general, Koffi Annan, for being more involved in setting up a transitional government in Zimbabwe but concludes that the move seem unlikely to gain traction. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's information minister, Tichaona Jokonya, refused to comment on ICG's call.