Embassy defends US narrowing sanctions on Mnangagwa, few allies

By Caleb Chikwawawa

US embassy authorities in Harare have defended President Joe Biden’s government decision to ease sanctions on the country through adjusting the measures on 11 individuals who include President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his wife and deputy Constantino Chiwenga.

Washington on Monday also narrowed the sanctions on three Zimbabwean entities accused of aiding rights abuses and corruption under the Zanu PF led authority.

At a media briefing Wednesday, Chargè d’ affaires of the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe, Laurence Sacho reiterated the sanctions were not targeted at Zimbabweans in general but were meant for a selected few.

“The United States is today designating eleven Zimbabwean individuals and three entities, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program for their connection to corruption or serious human rights abuses.

“These designations are part of a stronger, more targeted sanctions policy towards Zimbabwe the United States is implementing following President Biden’s approval of a new Executive Order terminating the Zimbabwe sanctions program that had been in effect since 2003.

“We continue to have concerns regarding serious cases of corruption and human rights abuse in Zimbabwe.

“Key individuals, including members of the Government of Zimbabwe, bear responsibility for these actions, including the looting of government coffers that robs Zimbabweans of public resources. Multiple cases of abductions, physical abuse, and unlawful killing have left citizens living in fear.

“The United States is committed to ensuring our sanctions are relevant, timely, and targeted against those most closely connected to corruption and human rights abuses.

“We continue to urge the government of Zimbabwe to move towards more open and democratic governance, including addressing corruption and protecting human rights, so all Zimbabweans can prosper.

“The Department of the Treasury designations were taken pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

“For more information on today’s actions, see the White House announcement and Treasury’s press release,” said Sacho.

Responding to the measures, the Zimbabwe government on Wednesday rejected the partial attempt to remove the sanctions saying only a move to rescind them in total will suffice.

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