Zimbabwe. In February, the EU decided to continue the
easing of sanctions against Zimbabwe initiated the year
before. Now the entry ban to the EU for Zimbabwe's Foreign
Minister, Justice Minister and 49 other people was lifted,
and restrictions on 20 companies were lifted. However,
restrictions were maintained against President Robert
Later, during the year, the EU's foreign ministers
declared that the Union planned to lift most sanctions
against Zimbabwe as the country held a credible referendum
on a new constitution, a milestone on the road to democratic
In March, six people were sentenced to fines and
community service prosecuted for inciting violence with
intent to overthrow President Mugabe. All denied and labeled
the allegations as "pure stupidity". They had been arrested
a year earlier at a seminar on lessons from the Arab Spring.
According to the prosecutor, they planned a similar revolt.
countryaah, the division of power between President Mugabe's ZANU-PF
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC continued to
conflict. In April, political violence was reported, and MDC
complained that the party's meetings were repeatedly
A crucial economic battle issue in the government was the
law that forced foreign owners to transfer at least 51% of
the shares in local companies to black Zimbabweans.
Tsvangirai said the law scared away the investments that the
country so desperately needed, while Mugabe's law
enforcement minister threatened companies with prosecution
if they did not comply with the law.
A government statement in July that foreign-owned banks
must give up the majority shareholding was condemned by
Tsvangirai, who said the government neither discussed nor
approved the announcement.
The 88-year-old Mugabe declared in September that a
referendum on a new constitution would be held in November
and parliamentary elections in March 2013. Tsvangirai's MDC
protested, claiming that the timetable was unrealistic to
guarantee free and fair elections. Critics said that MDC
wanted to postpone the election since Mugabe's support
increased during the year, while MDC was shaken by internal
strife and corruption scandals.
Human rights activists said in October that the
repression used in the 2008 violent election was about to be
revived. Tsvangirai threatened to leave the unity government
because his party members were subjected to violence.
Several of his followers were reported to have been jailed.
In December, the chairman of Parliament's Constitutional
Committee declared that a referendum on a new constitution
could be held at the earliest in June 2013. The delay was,
among other things, that public meetings that would discuss
the constitutional proposal were postponed time after time
after violent acts.