U.S, Zim square off on new Sanctions program targeting 11 individuals and entities

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

Tafadzwa Nyikadzino

The United States of America and the Zimbabwean government squared off yesterday over an Executive Order that was signed on 4 March by President Joe Biden terminating the sanctions program on Zimbabwe which has been in effect since 2003.

The same order designated 11 individuals, who include President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife, Vice President Constantine Chiwenga and businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei among others.  It also placed 3 entities which include Tagwirei’s companies as they were accused of engaging  in corruption and human rights abuses under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

Addressing Journalists yesterday,  the Chargé ď Affaires of the U.S Embassy in Zimbabwe Laurence Socha said the sanctions on these individuals and entities do not represent sanctions on Zimbabwe and its public. He added that the refocusing of the sanctions program on individuals is a demonstration that sanctions have not always been on the country

“The United States is committed to ensuring our sanctions are timely, relevant, and targeted against individuals responsible for corruption and serious human rights abuses. In Zimbabwe we continue to witness gross abuses of political, economic, and human rights. The targeting of civil society and severe restrictions on political activity have stifled fundamental freedoms while key actors including government leaders have siphoned off government resources for personal gains.

“Sanctions on these individuals and entities do not represent a sanction on Zimbabwe or its public. The United States reaffirms its commitment to working with the people of Zimbabwe. This sanctions transition makes clear what has always been true. U.S. sanctions are not on the country of Zimbabwe. We are refocusing our sanctions on specific and clear individuals and entities,” said Socha.

He urged the Zimbabwean government to take concrete steps to more open and democratic governance including addressing corruption and protecting human rights.

In response, the Zimbabwean Government lashed out at the U.S, saying the 4 March announcement can never atone for or write off the “crimes committed” against the country through the sanctions which they described as “illegal”.

The Government also accused the U.S of defaming Zimbabwe by accusing it of violating the democratic and human rights of its people without providing evidence for such acts.

“The announcement two days ago, on 4th March, 2024, by the US President Joseph R. Biden, purporting to rescind all illegal Executive Orders passed by his predecessors since March 6, 2003, some 21 years later after these debilitating sanctions against our Nation, can never atone for, let alone write off, heinous crimes committed against Zimbabwe and her people through these illegal, blanket country; sanctions.

“Noteworthy, these arbitrary US coercive measures against Zimbabwe were condemned by the United Nations as illegal, vindictive and unjustified under any pretext. Until now, the United States Government remained obdurate and indifferent. Today Zimbabwe cannot be expected to thank or be grateful to President Biden and the US for announcing palliative measures towards finally rescinding an illegality and an outrage, even then at its own pace, perpetrated for more than two decades, and in flagrant violation of international law.

“Nothing short of some prompt, unconditional removal in toto of those illegal coercive measures, including the infamous ZDERA, is acceptable to Zimbabwe and her long-abused,innocent people. Further, Zimbabwe takes great exception to gratuitous slander, and defamatory remarks by officials of the Biden Administration against the sanctioned Zimbabwean leadership and its nationals. This slander has been repeated here on Zimbabwean soil by local staff of the United States Embassy.

“ What adds to the outrage is that these bald and damaging accusations, coldly and mechanically made through a pre-drafted standard text of high-handed pillory by the US, are not backed by any iota of evidence; nor do they follow any internationally  recognized show of due process in competent courts. We condemn these malicious statements as completely uncalled for, as defamatory, provocative, and as a continuation of wanton hostilities against Zimbabwe by the US Government.

“We demand that the Biden Administration provides evidence in support of these gratuitous accusations, failure which the Administration must, without any further delay, withdraw them unconditionally,” the Zimbabwean government said.

Despite the continuous acrimony between the two states, the review of the sanctions policy on Zimbabwe is expected to boost the country’s competitiveness in the global sphere as a good business destination as its image was dented by their existence.


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