THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has set up a three-member presidential team to lobby for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe in keeping with resolutions passed in Windhoek to unlock the country’s political logjam.
The issue of sanctions is a major sticking point in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement that led to the formation of the Government of National Unity, with Zanu PF insisting that they are the major problem hindering progress.
According to informed sources, Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Rupiah Banda of Zambia are expected to travel to Washington and Europe to campaign for the lifting of sanctions.
“Sadc has set up the team, but I cannot say when they will be travelling to campaign for the lifting of sanctions,” said a source.
The communiqué of the 30th Jubilee Summit of Sadc on Zimbabwe reiterated its call on the international community to lift all forms of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and the Sadc region in general.
Sadc also mandated the chairman of Sadc, assisted by the chairman of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and the facilitator of the Zimbabwe political dialogue to engage the international community on the issue of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Head of Zimbabwe’s ministerial delegation on sanctions Elton Mangoma yesterday could not confirm the delegation and referred questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who could not be reached for comment.
Zuma was reported this week to have met European MPs, urging them that “lifting sanctions would give a chance to the efforts we are making there and empower Sadc to do more on Zimbabwe.”
The EU said in acknowledgment of the progress made by the unity government, it has allocated £138 million to Harare for humanitarian assistance.
However, the EU said it would keep the situation in Zimbabwe under constant review and wherever there is significant progress they are willing to support the process.
According to reports last week, the United States told Zimbabwe in their dialogue between the inclusive government and President Barack Obama’s administration in Washington that it would only review sanctions when the rule of law is restored and human rights violations are stopped.