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Emmerson Mnangagwa: US unveils new sanctions against Zimbabwe leader and close aides

Emmerson Mnangagwa: US unveils new sanctions against Zimbabwe leader and close aides

The US unveiled sanctions against Zimbabwe’s president, the first lady and his close aides for their alleged involvement in human rights abuses and corruption.

The new sanctions have been imposed on 11 people and three entities over the “gross abuses” of human rights, the White House said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has faced allegations of protecting gold and diamond smugglers in the country, directing government officials to facilitate the sale of gold and diamonds in illicit markets and taking bribes in exchange for his services, among other offenses.

“We continue to have concerns regarding serious cases of corruption and human rights abuse in Zimbabwe,” Antony Blinken, secretary of the state, said in a statement.

“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.”

He said “multiple cases of abductions, physical abuse, and unlawful killing” have created an atmosphere of fear among citizens.

Zimbabwe remains one of the most heavily sanctioned countries by the US after Washington hit the country with its first set of sanctions in the early 1990s, targeting then-president Robert Mugabe. It comes a year after President Mnangagwa was elected for a second term following an election tainted with allegations of fraud.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa won reelection for a second term in August 2023

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“We continue to witness gross abuses of political, economic, and human rights,” the White House said in a statement.

“The targeting of civil society and severe restrictions on political activity have stifled fundamental freedoms, while key actors, including government leaders, have siphoned off public resources for personal gains,” it added.

Those sanctioned will include first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, vice president Constantino Chiwenga, and defence minister Oppah Muchinguri.

Three entities that were hit with sanctions were Fossil Agro, Fossil Contracting and Sakunda Holdings for their alleged involvement in state-sponsored corruption.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Monday to terminate the national emergency and remove Zimbabwe-specific sanctions programme that had been in effect since 2003.

Now, the Biden administration is using a Donald Trump-era executive order that implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act as its authority to issue the sanctions.

Zimbabwe‘s government spokesperson Nick Mangwana described the new sanctions as “illegal” and said the lifting of the old sanctions programme was “a great vindication of President Mnangagwa’s Foreign Policy”.

The statement added that “as long as senior leadership is under sanctions, we are all under sanctions. And as long as members of Corporate Zimbabwe are under Sanctions, we are under Sanctions”.


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