U.S. renews Zimbabwe sanctions, Mnangagwa ‘violently repressed citizens’

WASHINGTON, United States – The United States on Thursday renewed sanctions on targeted Zimbabwe officials for another year.

United States President Joe Biden, in a note to congress, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa “has not made the necessary political and economic reforms that would warrant terminating the existing targeted sanctions programme.”

“Throughout the last year, government security services routinely intimidated and violently repressed citizens, including members of opposition political parties, union members, and journalists,” Biden said.

“The absence of progress on the most fundamental reforms needed to ensure the rule of law, democratic governance, and the protection of human rights leaves Zimbabweans vulnerable to ongoing repression and presents a continuing threat to peace and security in the region.”

The sanctions have been renewed every year by three American presidents since March 2003.

Mnangagwa’s regime blames the sanctions for causing the country’s economic collapse, but the Biden said the sanctions regime targets “certain members of the government and other persons who undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions.”

Biden said the actions of Mnangagwa and his lieutenants “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States,” adding: “Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288, as amended, with respect to Zimbabwe and to maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat.”

Mnangagwa seized power in a 2017 coup while promising democratic and economic reforms. Rights groups however say repression has worsened under Mnangagwa compared to his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

A new currency has collapsed, putting the government in constant conflict with its more than 300,000 workers who have watched as their salaries are shrivelled by the exchange rate changes.

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