Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has criticised plans by the EU to ease sanctions against the country, while keeping in place a travel ban and asset freezes on President Robert Mugabe and his wife.
“This (is) all nonsensical and meant to divide us,” Zanu-PF Spokesman Rugare Gumbo said of the EU’s decision, which enters into force on Wednesday.
He added: “Unless there is a total and irrevocable removal of sanctions, we will continue to see the EU and the West as trying to interfere in Zimbabwe’s politics.”
Travel bans and asset freezes imposed on eight people in Mugabe’s inner circle will be suspended as from Wednesday, leaving only Mugabe and his wife Grace on the bloc’s blacklist.
The EU imposed restrictive measures on the southern African country in 2002 in response to a government crackdown on the opposition and the eviction of white farmers from their land.
The sanctions have gradually been lifted in recent years as a result of political improvements, and in order to encourage reforms whilst maintaining some leverage over Mugabe, who won a fifth term as president last July.
Africa’s oldest leader, who has governed Zimbabwe since 1980 and turns 90 on Friday, reportedly travelled to Singapore on Monday to receive medical treatment.