Journos added to EU hit list

Even more Zimbabwean elites will have to swap their Armani suits and Salvadore Ferragamo shoes for local brands as shopping trips to Europe will be something of the past, even for those who are not Robert Mugabe’s nearest and dearest.

The decision of the European Union (EU) Council to increase the list of individuals in the Zimbabwean elite to 168 is aimed at ensuring that they will not be allowed to travel to or through Europe and their bank accounts held in European institutions will be frozen.

Zimbabwe Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and the deputy chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Joyce Kazembe, as well as Zimbabwean attorney general Bharat Patel are among the Zimbabwean elite who will not be allowed to travel to Europe.

Two Zimbabwean journalists are accused by the EU of “whipping up” the terror campaign before and during the recent June 27 presidential election and have been added to the list of 168 individuals who have been issued with travel bans and the freezing of assets.

Political editor of the state-owned Sunday Mail Munyaradzi Huni and former political editor Caesar Zvayi of The Herald were included on the newly revised list. Both these newspapers are owned by the Zanu-PF government and seen to be mouthpieces of self-styled president Robert Mugabe.

Diplomats say European ambassadors in Harare compiled the list and recommended that the implementation of the decision be delayed by a few weeks to allow for the mediation effort, that started this week outside Pretoria, to take shape.

But the EU decided that immediate implementation will keep pressure on the Mugabe regime. The issue will be raised at the South African-EU summit scheduled to take place this weekend in Bordeaux, France.

A surprising addition to the list is the head of Zimbabwe Cricket, Peter Chingoka, who has been at loggerheads with British cricket organisations for their refusal to tour in Zimbabwe and their lobbying to get Zimbabwe kicked out of the International Cricket Council.

Also on the list is the president of the Zimbabwean branch of the World Medical Association.
Paul Chimedza has, according to the EU, refused to treat injured members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Companies have also been targeted. Their assets and bank accounts will be frozen and therefore they will not be able to do business in or with European companies.

The Zimbabwean national defence company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, owned by the Zimbabwe government, is on the list. Its directors include Leo Mugabe, Robert Mugabe’s nephew, as well as former army chief Solomon Mujuru, husband of vice-president Joice Mujuru.

Other targeted companies are Zanu-PF’s financial holding company, Zidco Holdings, as well as the party’s publishing arm, Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company and Cold Comfort Farm Trust Cooperative, a company owned by Zimbabwean national security minister Didymus Mutasa. Grace Mugabe is also involved in the trust. The rest of the list includes army chiefs and war veterans.

Mugabe and those closest to him are not allowed to enter Europe, but he managed to enter on a United Nations ticket when he attended the UN food summit in Rome earlier this year.

The United States has decided to wait and see whether the mediation effort makes significant headway before deciding whether to follow the EU’s example.

Deputy information minister Bright Matonga declined to comment on the revised list.

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