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‘‘Mugabe’s birthdya present should be the keys to his retirement home’’ says MEP

Tomorrow (21.02.2013) Robert Mugabe turns 89 and astonishingly remains in power in Zimbabwe. In the last 72 hours there have been significant developments, not least in Brussels where European governments agreed to  suspend a limited number of “targeted measures” against the Mugabe regime

Tomorrow (21.02.2013) Robert Mugabe turns 89 and astonishingly remains in power in Zimbabwe. In the last 72 hours there have been significant developments, not least in Brussels where European governments agreed to suspend a limited number of “targeted measures” against the Mugabe regime. These include dropping sanctions in place against Gilbert Moyo, a Zanu-PF thug who has been involved in abductions and beatings in the Chegutu farming area.

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, who has spearheaded the European Parliament’s campaign in support of democratic change in Zimbabwe, and who last night launched the Parliament ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’ group, commented:

“I question whether sufficient care has been taken in selecting those that should be suspended from the list. I know Ben Freeth, a victim of one of Gilbert Moyo’s beatings, and heard his story. Moyo should be brought to justice. Yesterday, I was with Timolene Tibbett, another former Zimbabwean farmer, who has suffered at the hands of Zanu-PF henchmen. She still awaits payment of compensation that has long been agreed by international courts.

“I agree that we must encourage and recognise positive developments in Zimbabwe – but so far there have been few and political violence continues.

“The real test of progress will not just be the Constitutional referendum next month but, more significantly, the preparation and conduct of the Presidential election, probably in July. This requires international engagement – particularly by South Africa, where President Zuma has already taken a strong stance, and other SADC countries. We must ensure that the election campaign is free from political violence, that candidates that have lived abroad can participate and speak freely, that the electoral registers are correctly and fully completed, and that votes are safely cast and properly counted.

“If this happens then we could give further consideration to suspension of targeted measures.”

“The greatest birthday gift to Robert Mugabe would be the keys to his retirement home”.

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