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EU lifts economic sanctions on Zimbabwe


The European Union yesterday announced the lifting of trade sanctions against Zimbabwe that will take effect tomorrow, but kept travel bans against President Mugabe and the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe which the Western bloc said would be reviewed in February next year.


Analysts dismissed the lifting of the trade embargo, saying as long as President Mugabe remained on the illegal sanctions, it defeated the spirit of engagement which the bloc was advocating.


Announcing the decision in Harare yesterday during a Press conference, newly accredited EU Head of Mission Mr Philippe Van Damme said the lifting of trade sanctions against Zimbabwe means that the 28-nation bloc would directly engage with Harare on bilateral economic ties.


Ironically the European bloc had all along claimed there were no economic sanctions on Zimbabwe but just travel bans and asset freezes on Zanu-PF leaders and their associates.


He said pending arrival of British and Danish trade delegation was a sign of commitment by the Brussels based organisation to normalise relations with Zimbabwe. Mr Van Damme said EU lifted Article 96 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which governed relations between the Western bloc and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, but maintained Article nine until February next year which related to travel bans imposed on First Families.


“I think we have reached an important stage of normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe,” said Mr Van Damme, who was making his first public appearance after he presented his credentials to President Mugabe early this month.


“The step we have taken is not the final step, but a very important one. What we need now is to rebuild trust.”


Some of the areas that EU would start dialogue on were on agriculture, support of realignment of laws, health, Zim-Asset and the Staff Monitoring Programme that is being monitored by the International Monetary Fund.


Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Chris Mutsvangwa said it was bad manners for EU to continue “stigmatising” President Mugabe whose election victory was endorsed by both Sadc and the African Union, among other regional groupings.


“It is a bad signal at a time when Brussels and even London are talking of re-engagement,” he said.


“President Mugabe represents the people of Zimbabwe and everyone recognised the July 31, 2013 election and there is no prospect of a new Government for the next four years or even beyond that is in the foreseeable future. It’s plain bad manners.”


African, Caribbean and Pacific EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Zimbabwe representative Cde Makhosini Hlongwane said the EU was pinning its hopes on Zanu-PF’s December elective congress where it was anticipating that its puppets in the revolutionary party would take over the reins of power.


“They are prioritising hopes on outcomes of internal Zanu-PF processes, particularly congress with the vain hope that their puppets within Zanu-PF are going to remove President Mugabe and therefore develop a new Zimbabwe- EU architecture which is presumably sympathetic to the EU project,” he said.


“EU needs to come to terms, and very quickly so, with the fact that President Mugabe is not going anywhere.”


Source: The Herald Zimbabwe

 

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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