Robert and Grace Mugabe
By Staff Reporter
Former President Robert Mugabe will have to wait for the European Union (EU)’s annual meeting in February to know whether a travel ban issued against him will be lifted.
Brussels has scrapped most of its sanctions against Zimbabwean but maintained its measures against Mugabe and wife, Grace that include a travel ban.
The measures were imposed nearly two-decades ago as the international community responded to what was described as gross human rights abuses and electoral fraud by the Mugabe regime.
The veteran leader however, denied the allegations, saying instead that Zimbabwe was being punished for its land reforms.
He blamed the sanctions for the country’s economic collapse. Critics however, say the major damage was down to his incompetency.
EU envoy to Harare, Ambassador Philippe van Damme recently told journalists that Mugabe’s sanctions will be considered when Brussels reviews the situation in Zimbabwe next month.
“Every year at this time I am asked the same question and my answer remains the same.
“It (possible review) is council decision which will be made in February and I cannot prejudge what they will say,” said van Damme at a breakfast meeting in Harare last week.
It remains to be seen whether Mugabe’s changed circumstances will factor in the consideration of the 27-nation groping.
The veteran leader’s 37-year-reign dramatically ended last November after the military took to the streets and his ruling Zanu PF party recalled him as leader.
The 93-year-old has not spoken in public since his ouster. His last siting was in Singapore where he was photographed last month entering a local hospital.