No reforms no reengagement EU tells Zim

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen yesterday in Harare said government’s effort to reengage with Europe were futile without implementing humanitarian reforms guaranteed in the Constitution.

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By Marshall Bwanya

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen yesterday in Harare said government’s effort to reengage with Europe were futile without implementing humanitarian reforms guaranteed in the Constitution.

Speaking at the SAPEZ Trust policy dialogue about the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe Olkkonen reiterated that the state had failed to subscribe to the universal values of the Cotonou Agreement and African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that bind EU and country together.

“We have supported the Government’s reform agenda, although we would have loved it to move faster.

“However, with constant reports about human rights violations, it cannot be business as usual from an EU perspective,” he said.

The Human Rights Forum has so far recorded 19 abductions cases in August alone following a government clampdown on citizens over growing political and civil unrest proliferated by gruelling economic hardships.

Olkkonen clarified that EU’s restrictive measures targeting the former presidential couple, one local company and including an arms embargo were of no economic effect.

The EU ambassador also dismissed allegations made by war veterans’ spokesperson Douglas Mahiya that Europe was in cahoots with Chamisa’s led MDC to engender regime change.

“The EU has been accused of running a partisan agenda, and I’ve seen various conspiracy theories of how we are trying to foil Zimbabwe from succeeding.

“We want Zimbabwe to succeed. Conspiracy theories to the contrary are false, why on earth would we want it to fail?

“We are not favouring any political party, everything that my colleagues and I have been saying, and basically it is all reflected in the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.

OIkkonen reiterated that these conspiracy theories were smokescreens and side shows meant to divert attention from the growing abuse human rights crisis.

The EU ambassador also noted that the EU does not meddle in internal affairs of the country but was only concerned about developments in the country.