By Alex Bell
Anger has followed revelations that a German firm is bypassing European laws that ban any financial involvement with Robert Mugabe, by being a major supplier to the First Family’s dairy business.
According to the news and analysis site Africa Confidential the German firm Wilhelm Guth Ventiltechnik has been supplying components to Robert and Grace Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairy Estate for the past four years. The components are supplied through the wholly owned subsidiary of the German firm, Guth South Africa.
This relationship has developed despite European Union (EU) targeted restrictive measures that are still in place against Mugabe and his wife. Imposed over ten years ago as a result of human rights abuses and vote rigging by ZANU PF, the measures ban any EU countries from doing business with the individuals or companies on the EU’s targeted list.
The European leadership bloc has lifted its measures against the majority of the Mugabe regime, but the ageing ZANU PF leader and Grace Mugabe remain targeted.
The Guth firm had not replied to Africa Confidential’s request for a clarification by the time the story was published on Thursday. There has also been no explanation from the EU.
Former Chegutu farmer turned activist Ben Freeth said the situation is “outrageous,” saying the Gushungo dairy estate exists at the expense of farmers who were kicked off their properties by ZANU PF.
“Germans must be aware of the way this company is operating, supplying someone who took a farm from Ian Webster, the biggest dairy farmer in Zimbabwe. This German company has come in and are quite happy to accept that someone can come in and steal someone else’s business and steal someone’s home and livelihood, and then do business with that person against European restrictions,” Freeth said. SW Radio Africa