US looking “beyond Mnangagwa’s nice speeches”, gives conditions for removal of sanctions

The United States of America has said that it will not remove sanctions on Zimbabwe until it sees concrete reforms from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration. This was said by Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs during the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations presentation under the theme. “The Future of Zimbabwe”.

The presentation was also attended by Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and Dewa Mavhinga. Said Sullivan:

While we are engaging with the new government with an open mind, it’s not enough to say it’s a new government so therefore none of the sanctions or restrictions that were previously in place should apply. We will continue to look for signs of actual implementation, for example the election that is coming up there is months and months preparation that need to lead up to that. And we would be interested to see an openness or an invitation to send outside observers potentially as a part of group that will be led by an eminent African and these are things that would need to happen fairly soon and could give some indication of the intentions beyond the nice speeches.

When asked what the United States would consider in removing sanctions on Zimbabwe, Ambassador Sullivan said that they would like to see reforms in terms of governance, economic policies and security sector reform. Said Sullivan:

As far as Governance goes and respect for human rights, we would like to see immediate implementation of freedom of expression that has been lacking for decades in Zimbabwe, freedom of assembly, we are looking also for free media including social media, the preparations for the elections as I mentioned, anti-corruption; I believe they have given a 90 day window for people to return ill-gotten gains as an amnesty, will that happen will corruption be pursued in an impartial way, an apolitical way. How will things progress in terms of rule of law and due process. Those are on the Governance side.

On the economic side, the country is crumbling under crashing debt. We also have a very low doing business environment there, that is a deterrent. So we would like to see an improved investment climate. Since investors vote with their feet there are watching very closely because there are potential opportunities there. But investors want to be able repatriate their earnings and again the rule of law and a level playing field would be very important in the economic sphere.

In addition in the security sector, we would like to see the security sector earn the trust of the citizens and that would include police reforms.

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