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US Ends Zimbabwe Sanctions, Targets Mnangagwa and Allies for Alleged Corruption and Human Rights Abuses

President Mnangagwa's Speech At The Opening Of The 10th Parliament

US Ends Zimbabwe Sanctions, Targets Mnangagwa and Allies for Alleged Corruption and Human Rights Abuses

The United States announced on Monday the termination of its 2003 sanctions program against Zimbabwe, while simultaneously imposing new restrictions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his close associates for alleged involvement in corruption and human rights abuses.

According to the US Treasury, Mnangagwa is being targeted for allegedly shielding gold and diamond smugglers and overseeing security forces implicated in violating human rights. This move marks the first time a sitting head of state has been designated by the US under its Global Magnitsky Program. Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxilia, and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga are also included in the sanctions.

Additionally, Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Owen Ncube, Central Intelligence Organization Deputy Director Walter Tapfumaneyi, businessman Obey Chimuka, tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei, along with his wife Sandra, are among those facing new restrictions. Companies associated with Tagwirei and Chimuka, such as Sakunda and Fossil Group, are also targeted.

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Walley Adeyemo, the US Deputy Treasury Secretary, emphasized that the implementation of the new sanctions underscores that they are aimed at criminal networks surrounding Mnangagwa, rather than the people of Zimbabwe.

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“Today we are refocusing our sanctions on clear and specific targets, President Mnangagwa’s criminal network of government officials and businesspeople, who are most responsible for corruption or human rights abuse against the people of Zimbabwe,” Adeyemo said in a statement.

“These changes to our approach provide an opportunity for the government of Zimbabwe to undertake key reforms to improve its human rights, good governance and anti-corruption record.”

He alleged that Mnangagwa had been engaged in the illicit trafficking of valuable minerals like gold and diamonds.

“Mnangagwa provides a protective shield to smugglers to operate in Zimbabwe and has directed Zimbabwean officials to facilitate the sale of gold and diamonds in illicit markets, taking bribes in exchange for his services,” Adeyemo said.

“Mnangagwa also oversees Zimbabwe’s security services, which have violently repressed political opponents and civil society groups.”

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Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the US National Security Council, stated that the sanctions were implemented with the intention of holding individuals and entities accountable for contributing to Zimbabwe’s ongoing crisis.

“Today, the United States is employing a new set of tools in Zimbabwe, including the flagship Global Magnitsky sanctions programme, to make clear that the egregious behaviour of some of the most powerful people and companies in Zimbabwe matches the actions of the worst human rights abusers and corrupt actors globally,” Watson said in a statement.

“These designations build on recent US government actions, including pausing US.participation in the African Development Bank Dialogue and utilising the Department of State’s new visa restriction policy for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.

“These steps are concurrent with the termination of the pre-existing Zimbabwe sanctions programme that began in March 2003 and expanded on in subsequent orders.

“Actions to retire the previous sanctions program and designate key actors under the Global Magnitsky sanctions programme are part of an ongoing effort to ensure we are promoting accountability for serious human rights abuse and corruption in a targeted and strategic manner.”

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He emphasized that the administration of US President Joe Biden is dedicated to collaborating with the people of Zimbabwe and expressed concern regarding the worsening human rights conditions in the nation.

“The administration reaffirms its commitment to work with the people of Zimbabwe; will continue to robustly support civil society, human rights defenders, and independent media to promote values consistent with the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001; and take additional measures to hold accountable those who deny Zimbabweans the democratic freedoms and good governance they deserve.”

“These illicit activities support and contribute to a global criminal network of bribery, smuggling, and money laundering that impoverished communities in Zimbabwe, southern Africa, and other parts of the world.”

Sanctions were initially imposed on Zimbabwe by the US in 2003, citing purported human rights abuses under the regime of the late Robert Mugabe.

Since assuming power after a coup d’état ousted Mugabe in 2017, Mnangagwa has been advocating for the lifting of sanctions while concurrently seeking to mend relations with the US and other Western nations.

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