ZANU PF is said to be deliberately increasing its rhetoric about the Western imposed targeted ‘sanctions’, as part of a pre-emptive strategy to secure a scapegoat for its failures.
In recent weeks the propaganda about the restrictive measures has been ratcheted up to new levels, with ZANU PF officials and the state media repeatedly blaming the measures for all the problems Zimbabwe is facing.
The US, the European Union, Canada and Australia have all maintained restrictive measures on Robert Mugabe, key members of his regime and some state linked companies, since they were imposed over a decade ago. The EU and Australia this year suspended some of the measures in a show of good faith, with the Western nations insisting that real democratic progress is needed before the restrictions are lifted entirely.
Geoffrey Van Orden, a Member of the European Parliament who has campaigned for years for democratic change in Zimbabwe, said that the ZANU PF spin about ‘sanctions’ is “nonsense.” He explained that the measures were an international reaction to the brutality of the Mugabe regime.
“The EU decided to introduce measures that would impact not on the people of Zimbabwe, but on those responsible for the brutality and the terrible infringement of human rights and the breakdown of law and order in Zimbabwe,” Van Orden told SW Radio Africa
He explained how the measures are specifically targeted against a relatively small number of people and companies linked to the regime. The measures include an arms embargo, travel bans and assets freezes, and are currently still in place only against 10 individuals and two entities. (See the current list here )
“Mugabe and his people have always screamed that this is why there are economic problems and hardships in the country and that is completely nonsense. This was a response to those hardships. It was the very fact that Mugabe was destroying a vibrant and successful economy and brutally taking it out on anyone opposed to him. It was in response to that,” Van Orden explained.
In the wake of the disputed elections in Zimbabwe, observers and analysts have argued that democratic progress has not been achieved and not enough change has happened to warrant the removal of the Western measures.
The US has already stated that it will be not be reviewing its policies towards Mugabe’s regime, as a result of concerns and irregularities reported during the July 31st poll. Australia and the EU have also echoed their concern about the polls, but have not made a final decision on the measures.
ZANU PF’s rhetoric about the measures meanwhile continues to build, which political analyst Charles Mangongera said was a “pre-emptive move.”
“It’s a realisation on the part of ZANU PF strategists that they have a monumental challenge to deliver on the electoral promises they made before and after the elections,” Mangongera told SW Radio Africa.
He explained that promises of job creation, debt relief and massive financial investment made by ZANU PF are unrealistic promises, made as part of an electioneering campaign. He said that Western measures have always provided a convenient scapegoat for ZANU PF’s failures.
“The propaganda now is a pre-emptive attempt to shift the blame from their ineptitude to the sanctions. They (ZANU PF) have to start creating imaginary enemies to blame for the failures to deliver, and sanctions are an obvious target,” Mangongera said