Former Zanu PF politburo members Dumiso Dabengwa and Thenjiwe Lesabe were this week removed from the targeted sanctions list by the United States government.
Dabengwa a former Home Affairs minister is now president of Zapu while former Women’s Affairs Minister and Zanu PF Women’s League boss Lesabe is chairperson of the Zapu council of elders.
The US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control on Tuesday announced it had dropped Dabengwa and Lesabe as “circumstances related to these individuals no longer warrant their inclusion on the US sanctions list”. Dabengwa’s daughter, Ijeoma, was also dropped from the targeted sanctions list. US Embassy’s public affairs officer Sharon Hudson-Dean confirmed the developments to NewsDay.
“On December 14, 2010, the United States removed three individuals from the targeted sanctions list for Zimbabwe: (Dumiso) Dabengwa, Ijeoma Dabengwa, and (Thenjiwe) Lesabe.
“It has been determined that circumstances related to these individuals no longer warrant their inclusion on the US sanctions’ list,” she said.
Hudson-Dean said the removal of the three, alongside 14 other nationals from around the world, is part of the US government’s commitment, “to continue its review of the targeted sanctions list to ensure it remains current and addresses the threat for which it was created.”
“Circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the property and interests in property of (Dumiso) Dabengwa and (Thenjiwe) Lesabe. Dabengwa and Lesabe are no longer members of Zanu PF. Both individuals left Zanu PF to re-launch the Zapu party, which publicly supports constitutional reform and multiparty democracy,” she said.
She said once Dabengwa had been removed from the special designated nationals list, “circumstances will no longer warrant the continued listing of his daughter Ijeoma Dabengwa.”
“The US government has no reason to believe that Ijeoma Dabengwa is involved in Zimbabwean politics or that she has recently engaged in any actions or supported any policies that would merit her continued inclusion on the SDN List,” she said.
She said the lifting of the sanctions means that, “US persons may transfer, pay, export, withdraw, or otherwise deal in the property and interests in property of (Dumiso) Dabengwa, (Ijeoma) Dabengwa, and (Thenjiwe) Lesabe without having to obtain a licence from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.” Hudson-Dean said the US wanted fundamental change in Zimbabwe before targeted sanctions are lifted entirely.
The US, through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) of 2001, imposed targetted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner cabal in Zanu PF arguing “it is the policy of the US to support the people in their struggle to effect peaceful, democratic change, achieve broad-based and equitable economic growth, and restore the rule of law”.
Through Zidera, the US sought to, “identify and share information regarding individuals responsible for the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and intimidation in Zimbabwe”. Dabengwa left Zanu PF in 2008 when he threw his weight behind Simba Makoni’s presidential bid and later parted ways with the former finance minister to revive Zapu.
Efforts to get a comment from Dabengwa and Lesabe were fruitless as the pair was reportedly out of the country.