Monday, April 08, 2013

(STICKY) (SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Britain lets sanctions cat out of the bag
Sunday, 07 April 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

[COMMENT - " the sanctions intend to “freeze funds and economic resources of Zimbabwe” and “prohibit economic activity” in the country. " So there are only 'travel restrictions' on 'targeted individuals'? If you want to put a country and people under economic sanctions, at least have the guts to say you're doing so. So much for 'supporting democracy'. - MrK]

The British government has exposed that it imposed economic sanctions and not just travel bans on Zimbabwe after the administration was forced to issue a licence to enable the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa to conduct any financial transaction during the recently held re-engagment talks in London.

It has since emerged that the British government has a Statutory Instrument entitled The Zimbabwe (Financial Sanctions) Regulations, which prohibits Zanu-PF officials under the EU travel ban from conducting any financial transaction in that country.

Surprisingly, Britain had to issue the licence to Minister Chinamasa despite the fact that he is among the 81 Zanu-PF officials that were ostensibly removed from the EU sanctions list recently.

Minister Chinamasa recently travelled to London for the re-engagment talks together with the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Mr Elton Mangoma and the Minister of Regional Intergration and International Cooperation Ms Pricilla Misihairabwi.

While the two ministers from the two MDC formations had no hussles conducting any transaction in London, the Justice Minister had to be issued with the licence just before he left Harare.

The licence that was issued just before Cde Chinamasa left Harare for the talks expired on March 27 and when the British authorities realised that the minister was extending his stay they were forced to issue another licence that was expiring on March 31 2013.

Part of the HM Treasury note reads: “This licence concerns Mr Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (sic) and covers the period of his visit to the United Kingdom for the Friends of Zimbabwe meeting on 26th March 2013.

“Any person, entity or body may undertake and transact with Chinamasa which: a) makes funds available to him b) makes an economic resource available to him; or c) makes an economic resource indirectly available to another person designated under the EC regulation.

“This licence expires at 23:59 on 27th March 2013.This licence may be varied or revoked by the Treasury at any time.”

In an interview, Cde Chinamasa said he was shocked since he believed he had been struck off the sanctions list on the strength of Zimbabwe’s successful constitutional referendum.

“All along I thought I was no longer on the sanctions list, but, I realised during the experience that this is the hypocrisy of the British,” he said.

“They have been telling the whole world that they have removed the sanctions against me yet the truth of the matter is that I am still under sanctions. It’s the zenith of hypocrisy.

“The second lie that has been exposed is that these licences that I was given show that these are economic sanctions and not just the travel bans which they talk about.”

Cde Chinamasa said he regarded the licences as humiliating and did not bother to use them. He revealed that he had to send other members of the re-engagement team, Mr Mangoma and Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga to purchase stuff for him.

“Because I did not want to face the humiliation of producing a licence every time I wanted to purchase anything, I had to rely on my colleagues to buy anything on my behalf.

“I think it is a disgrace that in this day and age, you can be asked to produce a licence to buy even a cup of tea.”

Political analyst and Midlands State University lecturer Mr Nhamo Mhiripiri said sanctions tend to have an impact long after their removal.

“It has become a trend that the impact of sanctions will stand for even decades after they have been removed.

“You only need to look at the case of former South President Nelson Mandela. After the United States government discovered that he was still on their list of terrorists and dangerous persons they invited him to their country long after he had been struck off the sanctions roll.”

Last month, the EU announced that it had removed 81 Zanu-PF officials and selected Zimbabwean companies from its sanctions list. The bloc, however, left 10 top influential individuals, including President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, as well as service chiefs.

The financial sanctions that Britain still has in force, however, indicate insincerity on the part of the British and their European counterparts.

An explanatory note attached to The Zimbabwe (Financial Solutions) Regulations states that the sanctions intend to “freeze funds and economic resources of Zimbabwe” and “prohibit economic activity” in the country.

“The measures include the freezing of funds and economic resources belonging to individual members of the Government of Zimbabwe and to persons associated with them and a prohibition on making funds or economic resources available…”

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