US ambassador denies targeted sanctions are hurting ordinary citizens

Harry K. Thomas Jr

UNITED STATES ambassador to Zimbabwe, Peter Harry Thomas (Jr), has dismissed claims that sanctions against some Zimbabwean leaders and entities are affecting ordinary citizens, insisting the measures are “targeted”.


Responding to journalists’ questions during a roundtable discussion at the American Corner at the Bulawayo Public Library on Thursday, Thomas Jnr said his country was the biggest supporter of ordinary people in Zimbabwe.

“Other restrictions and the Zidera (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act) are against 98 officials and 68 entities, most of which are owned by those officials,” he said. “The sanctions were imposed by George Bush over several issues including lack of freedoms in this country. We will continue to look at those sanctions. We don’t support any political party, but political processes. We will continue to engage the leadership in this country.

That’s what diplomats do in every country. We will continue to meet them.”

He added: “It is not true that US sanctions affect ordinary people the most. We are the biggest donor in this country; we give more scholarships to support people. People can argue about politics, but no one can argue with figures: $2,6 billion.”

Thomas said his country had been the largest donor to Zimbabwe giving the Southern African country $2,6 billion since independence.

“We have just announced an additional $20 million to help those affected by drought. We give over $135 million to Zimbabwe for HIV work,” he said.

Thomas said his embassy was funding, to the tune of $400 000, the opening of an American office at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).

“This is going to be our initial involvement. We are sure that the office will serve as a cultural space for people at universities in the area,” he said.

The US diplomat said the challenges that had led to the closure of many Bulawayo industries were a phenomenon all over the world.

“India and the Philippines were affected by the loss of textile industries, just like Bulawayo. Even in the US, textile towns are shutting down,” he said.

The ambassador suggested that considering alternative industries like tourism could be the answer to de-industrialisation.

Thomas said farmers and businesspeople who lost their land during the land reform programme had gone to court or were waiting for the government of Zimbabwe to honour its promise to pay for improvements on the contested land.

“There is a Bill that has been passed that talks about compensation. We will wait to see what happens with the Bill,” he said.

The diplomat, who admitted being surprised by President Robert Mugabe’s sense of humour, has been touring his country’s projects in the Matabeleland region since Tuesday.

“Something I didn’t know was that he has a wicked sense of humour. I knew he was an intelligent man. His humour was what surprised me. I wish to meet him again in future. He was very clear in his opinion and what he wanted to see for the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.


  1. baba ava iduzvi chairo, ask employees of willowvale mazda, deven, olivine and many other companies dzakavharwa nekuda kwemabarbric us sanctions.

  2. @ silvester…. did those companies close because of sanctions or because of moorgabie’s stupid policies. Remember those firms where owned and managed by those whites whom u chased from the farms and were taken over by foolish ignorant war vets who do not even know how to run a household budget. All the parastestals such as gmb, nrz etc are being managed by army generals who have no clue of how a business is managed. Further to this is that zanu pf forges on its stupid policies which scare away investors by threatening to take over their firms. So to me there are no sanctions but wrong idiotic policies are being persued by our non visionary leaders like bob et al..

    • @Giba. The closure of companies is a result of both sanctions and bad policies. The USA should remove all sanctions forthwith. If they are not affecting anything as he suggests why are they there? If you sanction 98 individuals who happen to be policy makers and 68 companies and hope that such a measure would not affect ordinary people, then I would advise that you visit my village doctor for major brain surgery.

  3. Giba, any investment in this country where Govt has a stake, the dividend is not declared to zanupf but to the state for onward transmission to the people of Zimbabwe to fund Govt programmes. 2)where do you get this information that army general cannot run a successfull business enterprise? A case in point is that the best and biggest enterprises in America are run by ex serviceman.

    • bt do yu deny that sanctions have no direct relationship with closure of the companies. it has to do with gvt policies. on xserviceman, let me remind yu that in US these men are appointed depending on their level of education there is good corporate governvance….read the SOX Act. here we do not have even guideline of our own on corporate governance.


  5. Did 15bln dollars disappear from governments coffers because of ZDERA? We are not stupid.Why is it then that those same sanctions do not affect Mugabe’s pointless and wasteful globetrotting….?

    • as Miguel answered I cant believe that a single mom can make $9985 in 1 month on the internet . find more information

  6. Also those idiots who are saying sanctions are the cause suffering to Zimbabwe are real paranoids.You always bark that you are a sovereign nation why not ignoring the sanctions and rely on your stupid policies.

  7. Sanctions targeted to individuals are not the main cause of shambles in Zim. Look at what happened in Burkina Faso during Sankaras tenure. He improved the economy greatly in only three years regardless of the sanctions imposed by the French. Don’t blame sanctions for your incompetence. We need policy adjustments, and it’s possible, to hell with sanctions.

  8. not taking any side , baba ava varikurotomoka. how can you say you are not affecting ordinary citizens because they donating 2,6 billion in 36 years!!!!What a stupid statement ! ngavatikwanire hedu . Guys , believe it or not , sanctions have a negative impact on each and every country they are directed towards thats why they are used as a form of punishment…it would be abismal ignorance to deny this fact. However , i agree with you on the fact that most of zimbabwe’s difficulties are not a result of sanctions . CORRUPTION CORRUPTION and mismanagement.

  9. I am have unemployed since I graduated in june 2014 but dont see the impact of sanctions on me, what has impact on me is CORRUPTION by mugabes gvt, nepotism to its highest level in offices I have applied.

  10. I have been unemployed since I graduated in june 2014 but dont see the impact of sanctions on me, what has impact on me is CORRUPTION by mugabes gvt, nepotism to its highest level in offices I have applied. youth fund which we do not see, zim is in its sorystate, God forgive Zimbabwe

  11. My roommates girl makes $65 an hour on the internet of his laptop . She has been without work for 6 months but last month her pay was $6852 just working on the internet for a few hours. linked here…..checked here…N10

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