United States renews economic sanctions on Zimbabwe

Joe Biden and Emmerson Mnangagwa

THE United States President Joseph Biden has renewed sanctions imposed on some ZANU-PF officials in 2003, saying there are no tangible economic and political reforms in Zimbabwe.

In a notice sent to Congress today, Biden said the sanctions will be in force until March 6, 2021 as prescribed in some provisions of the National Emergencies Act, which provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the president publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date.

Biden said he had sent the notice to Congress stating that the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 of March 6, 2003, “with respect to the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions is to continue in effect beyond March 6, 2021.”

The notice reads in part, “President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not made the necessary political and economic reforms that would warrant terminating the existing targeted sanctions program. Throughout the last year, government security services routinely intimidated and violently repressed citizens, including members of opposition political parties, union members, and journalists.

“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.”

He said the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.

“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.”

Former presidents – Barack Obama and Donald Trump – renewed the same Executive Order citing lack of political and economic reforms in Zimbabwe.

Eighty-three Zanu PF officials and 37 companies are under the sanctions.

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO ZIMBABWE

On March 6, 2003, by Executive Order 13288, the President declared a national emergency and blocked the property of certain persons, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706), to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions.

These actions and policies had contributed to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, to politically motivated violence and intimidation in that country, and to political and economic instability in the southern African region.

On November 22, 2005, the President issued Executive Order 13391 to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 by ordering the blocking of the property of additional persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.

On July 25, 2008, the President issued Executive Order 13469, which expanded the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 and authorized the blocking of the property of additional persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.

The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.

For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2003, and the measures adopted on that date, on November 22, 2005, and on July 25, 2008, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2021.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.