BY MOSES MATENGA
RE-ENGAGEMENT attempts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration went up in smoke on Wednesday after United States President Joe Biden renewed sanctions against the southern African nation over alleged “growing repression” and human rights violations.
Biden said Mnangagwa had not made the necessary political and economic reforms that would warrant removal of the targeted sanctions.
The move came soon after Zimbabwe’s newly-appointed Foreign Affairs minister Fredrick Shava singled out re-engagement with the West as priority.
The US President said there was no progress on fundamental reforms required to foster rule of law, democratic governance, and the protection of human rights, hence the decision to extend the sanctions by another year.
“The actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States,” Biden said.
“For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2003, and the measures adopted on that date, on November 22, 2005, and on July 25, 2008, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2021. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 USC 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288.”
Eighty-three Zanu PF officials and 37 State-linked companies are on the US targeted sanctions list.
In 2003, under Executive Order 13288, the US declared a national emergency and blocked the release of property of certain officials linked to the late former President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
This, the US said, was to “deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions.”
“These actions and policies had contributed to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, to politically-motivated violence and intimidation in that country, and to political and economic instability in the southern African region,” Biden said.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not made the necessary political and economic reforms that would warrant terminating the existing targeted sanctions programme,” Biden said.
“Throughout the last year, government security services routinely intimidated and violently repressed citizens, including members of opposition political parties, union members, and journalists.”
But Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday said: “We are not interested in that. That is not a story for us. It is a big story for you guys and not for us. We have a country to run.”
Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi tweeted: “Sanctions have actually hardened us. The party is now tried and tested. We have now mastered the art of retaining power and consolidating it. As long as sanctions are there, Zimbabwe will soon become a one-party State. People like (MDC Alliance leader Nelson) Chamisa will be taken like rebel leaders and it won’t end well.”
Sanctions have actually hardened us. The Party is now tried & tested. We have now mastered the art of retaining power & consolidating it. As long as sanctions are there, Zim will soon become a one Party State. Pple like Chamisa will be taken like Rebel Leaders & it won't end well pic.twitter.com/3QWitKYOfZ
— Cde Tafadzwa Mugwadi (@TafadzwaMugwadi) March 4, 2021
Since coming into power through a military coup in November 2017, Mnangagwa’s government has been pushing for re-engagement with the West to end the country’s isolation from the family of nations.
Besides declaring October 25 each year an anti-sanctions day and roping in other Sadc countries to lobby for their removal, government even hired top global public relations firms to do the bidding on its behalf, but the efforts seem to go unnoticed by Western powers.
— Cde Tafadzwa Mugwadi (@TafadzwaMugwadi) March 4, 2021
Britain last month placed four Zimbabwean security chiefs, namely State Security minister Owen Ncube, police boss Godwin Matanga, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania Anselem Sanyatwe and Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo on its sanctions list.
America extended its sanctions regime against ZANUPF Government.
It reminded me of ZANUPF calling for REAL sanctions against Smith’s regime.
Sanctions are not asking for anything not in Zimbabwe’s constitution.
Why is it too difficult for Mnangagwa to follow Zim’s Constitution? pic.twitter.com/clxuPIS29Y
— Hopewell Chin’ono #2020 Africa People’s Journalist (@daddyhope) March 4, 2021
Britain said the quartet was responsible for the worst human rights violations against the people of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has been downgraded from “partly free” to “not free” over the intensifying persecution of opposition figures and rights activists, according to the 2021 Freedom House report on civil liberties and human rights.
The Washington DC-based organisation rates people’s access to political rights in 210 countries and territories through its annual freedom in the world report.
Without some restrictions on companies owned by corrupt politicians these organizations will grow feeding the very beast we are fighting.
— Jacob Ngarivhume (@NgarivhumeJacob) February 28, 2021
“The new administration has largely retained the legal, administrative, and security architecture it inherited from the (Robert) Mugabe regime and it has stepped up repression to consolidate its authority. Endemic corruption, weak rule of law, and poor protections for workers and land rights remain among Zimbabwe’s critical challenges,” the report said.
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