Junta, not Mugabe, in charge

The military, not President Robert Mugabe, is in charge of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Sipho Theys said a military junta had taken over Zimbabwe with militia controlling parts of the country.

“A militia junta rules Zimbabwe. Rural bases of soldiers are living off rural communities and humanitarian aid,” Theys told a media briefing in Johannesburg.

He said Mugabe was no longer the problem as he had lost charge.

Meanwhile, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson McDonald Lewanika said informal curfews had been put in place in Zimbabwe.

Lewanika, who arrived from Harare on Thursday, said the humanitarian crisis in that country had escalated.

“It feels like the election period,” said Lewanika, adding that police officers were warning Zimbabweans to be indoors by 7pm.

The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum is a network movement of SA civil society organisations which include youth, women, labour and faith-based groups.

EU calls for sanctions
European Union lawmakers called on Thursday for tougher EU sanctions against Zimbabwe, including putting businessmen who finance Mugabe’s regime on a visa ban list.

In a resolution, the deputies urged the EU “to tighten and extend targeted sanctions against members of the Mugabe regime and others responsible for grave violations of human rights, if mediation efforts are not accepted and the state-sponsored violence is not ended”.

It came as diplomats said that the United Nations Security Council would probably vote later on Thursday on targeted UN sanctions against Mugabe and 13 of his associates over a presidential election widely viewed as illegitimate.

The deputies called on the EU “to press for sanctions to be adopted at UN level, including an arms embargo and a comprehensive freeze of assets of the entire government and ruling party leadership”.

In addition, the resolution urged the bloc to take “coercive measures” which would “name and shame those business people responsible for financing the repressive Zanu-PF regime”.

The measures would include “rescinding their rights of residence in Europe, and denying their family members access to employment and educational institutions”.

Shareholders in “international banks which act as conduits for corrupt earnings, or provide loans and investment such as Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered and others”, should also be warned.

International pressure has mounted on Mugabe—Zimbabwe’s leader since independence—since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from last month’s presidential election amid spiralling campaign violence.

The EU has previously slapped extensive sanctions on Zimbabwe, including an arms embargo and travel ban on Mugabe and other senior officials. They were imposed after he won elections in 2002 which the opposition insists were rigged.

In June last year, the bloc widened the travel ban and imposed an assets freeze on Zimbabweans deemed responsible for the “rapidly deteriorating human rights, political and economic situation”.

“The situation in Zimbabwe has really reached a nadir.
The people are being held hostage by a regime determined to cling onto power,” German conservative lawmaker Michael Gahler said during debate. - Sapa, AFP

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