‘No changes in US, Zimbabwe relations under Biden administration’

Joe Biden and Emmerson Mnangagwa

INCOMING US President Joe Biden will still apply as much pressure on Zimbabwe as any previous Democratic administration, a leading US-based Zimbabwean pastor has said.

Biden defeated ultra-nationalist Donald Trump, a Republican, in the November elections and will be sworn into office in January.

In his campaign message, Biden pledged to prioritise human rights in his foreign policy. Analysts say this made Governments across the globe, including Zimbabwe, contemplate the implications of a Biden administration for their countries.

On November 7, President Emmerson Mnangagwa posted a congratulatory message on Twitter, saying he looked forward to working with Biden to increase cooperation between Zimbabwe and the US.

Mnangagwa’s foreign affairs minister, Sibusiso Moyo, said his congratulatory tweet the next day that, “Zimbabwe hopes to continue finding common ground, worthwhile and mutual alliances with the American people”.

As a US senator in 2001, Biden co-sponsored the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which paved the way for the US to impose travel and economic sanctions on individuals (and their associates) responsible for the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and intimidation in Zimbabwe.

These targeted sanctions have been imposed since 2003 on select individuals in the ruling Zanu PF government and companies known to facilitate human rights abuses, undermine the rule of law, and engage in looting public resources for personal or political gain.

Some of the companies sanctioned include Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Sakunda Holdings, the military-run Zimbabwe Defence Industries, and Zanu PF linked companies such as M&S Syndicate and Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company.

“The fact is that a reset of relations with the US government, and the removal of targeted sanctions, is unlikely to happen simply because there is a new administration in the US,” said Dewa Mavhinga, the Human Rights Watch director for Southern Africa in a recent opinion piece.

Now, Raphael Mthombeni, a Zimbabwean Reverend living in Dallas, Texas, agrees with Mavhinga and says there won’t be any changes in relations between USA and Zimbabwe after Biden steps into the White House.

Reverend Mthombeni made the revelations in a video released by VOA Studio 7.