eu_flag.pngWith just a few weeks before the European Union announces the results of its annual review of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, local analysts say their removal is long overdue as their continued existence is an impediment not only for the Zimbabwean economy, but also for the holding of free and fair elections in the country.

According to reports, the 2012 review process of the sanctions began after the first week of January in Brussels amid speculation that the European bloc will extend the illegal embargo.

The illegal EU sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 as a way of punishing the country for redistributing land to disadvantaged indigenous people.

Although the European bloc has continued to refer to the economic sanctions as restrictive measures against a few of President Mugabe’s close allies, they have wreaked havoc on the economy, resulting in low economic performance and a negative impact on the welfare of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Every February since 2003, the European bloc has continued to renew the illegal sanctions alleging lack of rule of law and unfounded accusations of human rights abuse levelled by the MDC-T and their allies.

After the formation of the inclusive government in 2009, the European bloc has continued to renew the sanctions again working in tandem with the MDC-T, alleging that the terms of the Global Political Agreement were not fully implemented.

However, in a smokescreen gesture aimed at improving hope among Zimbabweans that the sanctions would soon go, the European countries removed some names of people that had been put on the sanctions list who included spouses of prominent government figures and names of those who have died.

Zimbabwean political analysts and commentators have said the illegal sanctions were never justified as they are being used to create an uneven ground in favour of the MDC-T and their allies while disabling another partner in the inclusive government, Zanu PF.

Analysts say sanctions are in direct violation of the GPA and should be scrapped forthwith to pave way for the holding of free and fair elections.

During the last few years, cracks have begun to emerge among EU member states over the issue of sanctions against Zimbabwe, with some saying they should be scrapped while some remain adamant.

During 2011 alone, several business delegations from some EU states, especially Germany, have been visiting Zimbabwe on business exploration missions.

With Europe battling with an economic crisis, analysts believe the EU stands to lose more by closing business with Zimbabwe, a country rich in resources.