Zimbabwe Slams U.S. Sanctions

Zimbabwe says Washington is trying to sabotage its economy after it imposed sanctions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son and his business partners Monday for alleged corruption and other violations.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa
| Photo Credit: allafrica

Zimbabwe’s government has come out to speak against the addition of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son on a US sanctions list for corruption and human rights abuses.

Officials in the southern African nation say the sanctions are hurting the country’s economy. The US disagrees, saying corruption and wrong priorities are the problem.

George Charamba, the spokesman for Zimbabwe’s presidency, said he was not surprised by the latest US designations.

“The intention was never to attack individuals, who do not matter anyway in terms of interstate relations,” he said. “The intention has always been to cripple the Zimbabwean economy and it’s not fortuitous that they have picked on suppliers of key inputs to a critical sector of our economy, namely agriculture. They did it before and I can assure you they will do it in future”.

Charamba said the US is pushing for a “complaint” against Zimbabwe, while Zimbabwe insists on an independent national policy which is not influenced by foreigners.

The United States announced sanctions against Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr. the penalties were laid out in a US Treasury Department press release on Monday, alongside sanctions for three other individuals and two entities.

In a statement, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it added four Zimbabwean nationals and two Zimbabwean companies to the sanctions list. One of the individuals is Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr, the son of the Zimbabwean president.

“The Zimbabwe sanctions programme targets human rights abusers and those who undermine democratic processes or facilitate corruption. US sanctions do not target the Zimbabwean people, the country of Zimbabwe, or Zimbabwe’s banking sector.” the press release states.

The US Treasury Department sanctioned Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr for his involvement with Kudakwashe Tagwirei and his company, Sakunda Holdings, which were singled out for sanctions related to alleged corruption and human rights violations in 2020.

“Since former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s 2017 departure, Tagwirei used a combination of opaque business dealings and his ongoing relationship with President Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of US dollars,” it said.

The sanctions announcement came one day before Biden hosted nearly 50 heads of state from the African continent for the US-Africa leaders summit.

Mnangagwa came to power in 2017 after generals forced long-time ruler Mugabe to resign. But his leadership remains criticized for corruption and rights violations, including a crackdown on dissent that saw two opposition lawmakers and 16 opposition supporters imprisoned from June to November.

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