Zimbabwe strongly disputes the European Union’s (EU) listing of the country among nations with strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering and countering financing terrorism, saying the citing by the Western bloc is unfair as the Government was never consulted on the issue.
In his briefing with the EU Commissioner responsible for overseeing international cooperation and development Ms Jutta Urpilainen on Tuesday in Brussels (Belgium), Dr Shava expressed concern over the listing and indicated that Zimbabwe had strong systems, a competent police force and judiciary to investigate any illicit dealings.
“We did emphasise that this is an unfair listing and that our systems had not been consulted and we indicated (to the Commissioner) that Zimbabwe had a system to investigate money laundering and has an independent judiciary which would try anyone in courts in that regard.
“We also indicated that we have an Anti-Corruption Commission, which continuously looks at our situations and brings culprits to book.
“We urged the EU therefore to remove Zimbabwe from the list in order to facilitate seamless cross border transactions and to assist the capacity building of our institutions that handle the countering of financing of terrorism.”
Ambassador Shava said it was unfortunate that the listing came at a time when Zimbabwe was in the process of implementing various reforms with several independent commissions already in place. These commissions, the minister said, include the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, the Zimbabwe National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
The EU Commissioner inquired about how Zimbabwe was tackling the issue of national dialogue. In response, Dr Shava informed Ms Urpilainen of the inter-party dialogue under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).
“We told the Commissioner that there is robust engagement between the Government and civil society organisations to address legacy issues and to ensure peace and security in the country.”
Zimbabwe, the minister said, has been implementing wide-ranging political, economic, legislative and electoral reforms aligned to the country’s Constitution in the undying spirit borne out of its liberation struggle to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Despite the positive initiatives by the Government, Dr Shava said it was unfortunate that the EU has remained adamant on its allegations of human rights violations in the country.
“We are convinced that these allegations have regrettably influenced the EU to list Zimbabwe amongst countries whose human rights situation is monitored by the bloc in 2021,” Minister Shava said.
On the issue of the 2023 national elections, the minister said Zimbabwe was committed to holding credible and transparent elections and is currently implementing electoral reforms. ZEC, he said, has been capacitated to ensure that it delivers on its mandate with voter registration ongoing and will culminate in an electoral delimitation exercise in 2022 as the country prepares for the 2023 elections.
“In further discussions, the Commissioner wanted to know about the observations made in the last elections. We informed the Commissioner that the Government of Zimbabwe is addressing all recommendations by the international election observers that observed our last elections and this includes the EU observations and the subsequent Motlante Commission findings.
“The issue of accountability in the security sector is being addressed under the Independence Complaints Mechanism Bill, which is being developed. Once the Bill becomes law it will enable the public to lodge complaints against the security sector, if any.”
Minister Shava is on a charm offensive mission to Europe that will see him engage with Foreign Affairs Ministers of France, Belgium, Italy and Serbia.
Zimbabwe’s relations with the EU bloc deteriorated when the latter and its allies imposed sanctions on the southern African country in 2002 after the implementation of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.
The international community now acknowledges that the Land Reform Programme, which was implemented to correct colonial injustices, is irreversible.
Zimbabwe has since made efforts to compensate former commercial farmers for developments undertaken on the farms.
The Government signed the Global Compensation Deed (GCD) with the former farm owners for compensation for improvements on the farms which were forfeited during the land reform.
Both parties agreed on a Global Compensation Deed to the tune of US$3,5 billion and are fully committed and managed to engage in order to fulfil the dictates of the GCD.
The minister’s visit is in pursuit of the Government’s drive to engage and re-engage the international community, including the EU.