Upon the implementation of a peaceful and fair election, the European Union will lift restrictions affecting the Zimbabwean government, Business Day Live reported.
In 2008, ineffective state security was noted as the cause of poll violence that spread across the country. Close to 200 civilians were killed in the process, the majority of which were opposition protesters, the report said. On July 31 — the day of this year’s election — The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will step in to aid the government with encouraging calm and peaceful poll practices.
“We are not happy about the situation in Zimbabwe but there has been progress. That progress has been enough for us to suspend, if not remove, some of the sanctions,” EU ambassador Roeland van de Geer said at a recent Africa-EU summit briefing.
According to Business Day Live, the EU’s sanctions placed against “about 20 Zimbabwean companies and individuals” — which includes President Robert Mugabe and his political team — are still in place. However, If all goes well with the election , the EU has promised to lift restrictions which prohibit these individuals from traveling to EU countries and trading with the EU.
In hopes that the elections will result in a positive outcome, Business Day Live reported that van de Geer told journalists, “If the elections are internationally recognised, we will simply do what we have to do and lift our restrictive measures.”
While Mugabe has had a successful political run since 1980, the president’s Zanu (PF) ruling party banned EU election observers as Business Day Live reported they are often too tough. SADC will instead report back to the EU after the elections. Their results will be compared with opposition representative reports. SADC is supposedly passive in when it comes to holding the Zimbabwean government to standards.
“We feel that further reform in the media and the army is needed. We would like to have seen more reforms in Zimbabwe. But we really think South Africa has invested a lot of political energy,” van de Geer said in the report.
According to Business Day Live, the Zimbabwean Constitutional Court was advised, but turned down the opportunity to enact reform and subsequently postpone the election.