via Kasukuwere ‘detention’ raises questions about EU-Zim relations | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Monday, November 18, 2013
The brief detention of ZANU PF Minister Saviour Kasukuwere in a German airport has raised many questions about the budding relationship between the European Union (EU) and Zimbabwe.
Kasukuwere, who has a controversial past littered with incidents of violence, was held for a few hours on Saturday morning after arriving at Munich International Airport from South Africa. The newly appointed Environment Minister in Robert Mugabe’s government was on route to Poland for the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention.
German police reportedly swooped on Kasukuwere shortly after landing on Saturday morning, after security checks flagged the Minister as an ‘undesirable element’. Narrating his experience, the Minister said he was detained in a small room for two and a half hours.
“As soon as we got into this room, they took away my passport and gave me some document saying I was supposed to be subjected to some security checks. The police details consulted with higher authorities and shuttled from one office to the other. I asked them what was the problem and they told me that their security system had alerted them that an undesirable element was about to enter into their country,” Kasukuwere said.
The Minister was eventually released and continued on his journey, and he even received an apologetic phone call from the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
Former diplomat and political analyst Clifford Mashiri said the situation is exemplary of the ‘cynical’ and ‘duplicit’ relationship the EU is fostering with Zimbabwe. He explained it is not surprising that Kasukuwere was flagged as ‘undesirable’, given his checkered past.
“As we know, since 2000, as records show, he was linked to a lot of violence and that violence part of him should still be known to the EU. It is surprising that the EU is softening its stance to the extent that they let him go ahead with his visit,” Mashiri said.
A dossier on ZANU PF violence published by SW Radio Africa last year, based on eyewitness accounts, detailed Kasukuwere’s violent past. The former Indigenisation Minister, according to the dossier, led and sponsored terror gangs that operated mainly in the Mashonaland Central province. He was also accused of being personally involved in the attacks on opposition supporters from 2000 to 2008.
On the 5th May 2008 for example he organized and ferried (using his lorry) a group of over 300 youths to Chaona, Mazowe. The youths beat up perceived opposition supporters, killing six and injuring dozens. Eight days later the same mob led by Kasukuwere went on another rampage, killing MDC-T supporters Fischer Chitese, Bright Mafuriro and Sairiro Kamufuto. On the 19th May the group struck again, killing activist Phanuel Mubaira.
On the 25th March 2000 Kasukuwere, then still a ZANU PF candidate for Mount Darwin Constituency, organised a 200 strong gang of youths and war vets at Madondo Hotel. Armed with a list of addresses of known MDC-T supporters they went door to door beating up their targets.
The dossier goes on to list many other incidents that the Minister was involved in. Mashiri said Monday that these cases and similar incidents of human rights abuse remain unresolved in Zimbabwe, but the EU is still forging ahead with renewing ties.
The EU earlier this year delisted the majority of ZNAU PF individuals named on its list of targeted restrictive measures, in a show of good faith for ‘progress’ achieved by the previous unity government. Despite not moving to accept the contested July election result, the European body also delisted the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) in September. That has paved the way for talks currently underway in Belgium for the two nations to begin trading in Zimbabwe’s diamonds.
Mashiri said the situation showed how ‘cynical’ the relationship between the countries is, with diplomacy being used as the scapegoat to set aside human rights concerns.
“We should hold the EU to account for its duplicity and its cynicism. We have to ask the EU if it is putting aside human rights to engage with Zimbabwe,” Mashiri said.