Fine Gael calls for sanctions on Zimbabwe


Fine Gael has called for the Government to push for sanctions on Zimbabwe over President Robert Mugabe’s attempts at "stifling democracy" in the African state.

Mr Robert Mugabe

He called for the "highest sanctions" to be imposed and described Mr Mugabe as the head of a "tyrannical regime".

Mr Mugabe is attempting to push three bills through the Zimbabwean parliament. One of the bills was defeated in parliament yesterday, but Mr Mugabe has indicated he intends to push the bill through regardless.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change party claims the bills are an attempt by the President to secure his victory in general elections scheduled for March.

One of the bills will ban foreign and international election monitors from the country.

Parliament is also considering a media bill banning foreigners from working as correspondents in the country, and a public order and security bill that will give President Mugabe's government sweeping powers to clamp down on the opposition.

Zimbabwe's military chiefs sent a clear signal today that they would not accept a victory by the opposition in the presidential poll.

"The security organizations will only stand in support of those political leaders that will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs for thousands of lives lost in pursuit of Zimbabwe's hard-won independence," defence forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe said in a statement.

He branded the MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai as a "traitor" for not fighting in Zimbabwe's war of independence.

The EU has already threatened to impose sanctions on Mr Mugabe over his controversial land seizures, his drive against the media and the judiciary and his supporters' campaign of violence ahead of the presidential elections.

Britain and Canada have both hinted they will push for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth if political violence in the country worsens.

Additional reporting: AFP