Tensions between Zimbabwe and the United States of America have escalated following the recent inclusion of businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei on US sanctions, a move which the ruling party’s spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa described as an “attack” aimed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government.
Zanu PF released a press statement today in response to the USA Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions that were recently imposed on Tagwirei where Chinamasa said these were part of “relentless orchestrated attacks” targeting President Mnangagwa and his regime.
“Zanu PF has noted and acknowledged the OFAC sanctions imposed on Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei and Sakunda Holdings. This comes as no surprise as these sanctions follow relentless orchestrated attacks over the past 12 months targeting the President CDE ED Mnangagwa, Members of the First Family, Government of Zimbabwe and its institutions, ZANU PF and its Leadership,” said Chinamasa.
Tagwirei, who is a close aid to the country’s leadership, was placed on OFAC sanctions for supporting President Mnangagwa’s regime and using his close ties to top government officials to secure opaque and corrupt dealings that have derailed the country’s economy according to a statement by US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Justine Muzinich.
Muzinich cited the Command Agriculture programme which was financed by Tagwirei’s company, Sakunda Holdings as an example of state dealings where he accused him of misappropriating funds to the tune of US$3 Billion. But Chinamasa said USA’s allegations that Tagwirei and Sakunda Holdings defrauded Government on the programme are based on falsehoods, saying the scheme was successful and it boosted the country’s agricultural output.
“On the issue of Command Agriculture again, the USA has conveniently chosen to act on the basis of falsehoods such as the allegations that Mr Tagwirei and SAKUNDA Holdings defrauded Government under the very successful Command Agriculture Scheme initiated and then funded by government to ensure the success of the land reform programme. The Scheme was successful and boosted agricultural output,”
“The scheme was one of the many schemes introduced by the ZANU PF Government to assist farmers and the schemes included the Presidential Inputs Scheme targeting peasant and small scale farmers in semi arid areas of the country as well as the Farm Mechanisation Support Scheme targeting both small scale and large scale farmers recently beneficiaries of the Land Redistribution Programme,”
“When it operated, 78 000 medium to large scale farmers benefited under the Command Agriculture Scheme. From year to year, more than 1.8 million households
continue to benefit from the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme annually and 350 000 households from the Presidential Cotton Inputs Support Scheme,” said Chinamasa.
He added that the allegations forming the basis of the sanctions decision by the USA have been deliberated upon by the Public Accounts Committee of Zimbabwe’s Parliament, chaired by Tendai who he accused, together with the MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa of making regular visits to the US to plead for the extension and intensification of US sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa said Sakunda Holdings managed to demonstrate its innocence against the allegations that it had received US$3 Billion from government before the committee and challenged the US and NGO’s to present any evidence of inappropriate dealings involving the Command Agriculture program to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and law enforcement agents for investigations.
“During the Public Accounts Committee Hearing chaired by Mr Biti, Sakunda Holdings placed before the committee, all documentation pertaining to all the transactions on Command Agriculture and successfully demonstrated that the allegations of corruption were false,fake, fabricated and malicious including allegations that they had received US$3 billion from government. If Mr Biti was man enough, he would have reported that to senator Flake, having observed that Mr Biti feels obligated to be accountable to the USA.” Chinamasa said.
“It is in this light that ZANU PF calls upon the USA government to respect Zimbabwe as an independent, sovereign country and in particular, its Parliament and Parliamentary processes. In this regard, ZANU PF calls upon the 4000 or so regime change NGOs sponsored by the USA and its Allies in Zimbabwe to come forward with evidence of impropriate concerning Command Agriculture and bring this to the attention of our law enforcement agents and the Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission (ZACC) for their attention and investigation. Until evidence to the contrary is established, ZANU PF wishes to place it on record that it considers Mr Tagwirei and Sakunda Holdings a respected player and stakeholder in the economy of Zimbabwe just as we are sure General Electric is considered a respected economic player in the USA and globally,” he said.
Chinamasa said the ruling party expects the country to nurture many more Tagwirei’s and fellow indigenous entrepreneurs to be successful world class businesses that will make impactful contributions to the attainment of President Mnangagwa’s 2030 vision.
Tensions between the two countries continue to escalate although they constantly indicate their willingness to make economic and businesses engagements in the near future.