Zimbabwe crisis July 23, 2008

Chingoka slapped with EU sanctions

Cricinfo staff

The European Union has widened sanctions against Zimbabwe, publishing a list of 37 more individuals and four businesses subject to visa bans and asset freezes. One of those included on the list for the first time is Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket. The additions take the total number of targeted individuals to 168.

The EU release included Chingoka with the following short explanation. "Chief of the federation of cricket of Zimbabwe, having publicly supported the terror campaign carried out before and during the elections".

An important aspect of the action is that Switzerland and other European Free Trade Association countries also support it, so Chingoka will not be able to transit through any EFTA or EU countries.

Chingoka has steadfastly denied that he has any links to the ruling regime of Robert Mugabe, and a decision last October to deny him a visa to enter the UK was shrouded in confusion. While government sources told Cricinfo that the visa had been refused because of evidence of links to the Zanu-PF government, the ICC apparently never asked Chingoka himself why he had been barred. A consequence was that the ICC annual conference earlier this month was moved away from London for the first time in 99 years as it was felt that Chingoka would be denied entry, even though he never actually reapplied for his visa.

However, his inclusion on an EU list will weaken his standing, and will also undermine claims by his supporters within the ICC that the original ban was an unwarranted unilateral action by the British government. It is possible that the US authorities will extend their own list of individuals subject to sanctions in the coming weeks.

"The sanctions ... are designed very much to reinforce the drive for the transitional government that reflects the democratic will of the Zimbabwe people as expressed in the election in March," David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, said.