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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'Sanctions' for Mugabe opponents
Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC leader
Tsvangirai has called for sanctions
Zimbabwe's Government has warned that it is on the verge of imposing its own travel restrictions on the opposition.

Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo said this was in response to last week's decision by the European Union to extend its sanctions against members of the ruling Zanu-PF party.


We are actively considering... the withdrawal of passports... against our political opponents

John Nkomo Home Affairs Minister
Over the week-end, a handicapped member of the government, Joshua Lalinga, was sent back to Harare by Britain, where he had stopped on his way to a United Nations conference in New York.

A total of 72 political and business leaders are now banned from entering the EU and any assets they hold there may be frozen.

The sanctions were originally imposed after President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election in March.

'Saboteurs'

The EU, the United States and the Commonwealth condemned the violence and the bureaucratic irregularities associated with the elections.

"We are actively considering a range of measures to take, which will include the withdrawal of passports and the introduction of exit and entry visas against our political opponents in the country who have campaigned for sanctions and we are practically working towards that end," Mr Nkomo told the privately-owned Financial Gazette newspaper.

He called those who had campaigned for sanctions against the government "internal saboteurs".

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has condemned the proposed measures as "unlawful and unconstitutional".

"They (Zanu-PF) know that their political survival rests purely on repression," said MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube.

MDC leaders spend a lot of time abroad, lobbying for strong action to be taken against Mr Mugabe's government.

Correspondents say the withdrawal of their passports would make this lobbying work more difficult but may also lead to further action by the international community.

Food aid

The MDC welcomed the EU's decision to extend its so-called "smart sanctions" against Zimbabwe's leaders.

Boys picking wild fruit
Some families have resorted to eating wild leaves and fruit

Shadow Foreign Minister Tendai Biti called for even more associates of Mr Mugabe to be targeted unless new elections were held and the political violence stopped.

But the MDC has nevertheless urged donors to send food aid to Zimbabwe, ahead of a looming famine.

The World Food Programme has warned that six million Zimbabwe's face hunger later this year, after two years of drought and the disruption to commercial farming caused by Mr Mugabe's land reform programme.


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22 Jul 02 | Africa
16 Jul 02 | Africa
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23 Feb 02 | Africa
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