Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa shrugs off fresh US economic sanctions

Emmerson Mnangagwa

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the new dispensation remains committed to the engagement and re-engagement policy with the international community despite the continued renewal of illegal sanctions imposed by the West on Zimbabwe.

The President was speaking when he bade farewell to Zimbabwe’s ambassadors to Washington DC, Geneva and Brussels in Harare this Thursday.

The three ambassadors who held a briefing with President Mnangagwa at State House ahead of their diplomatic missions are Mr Tadeous Chifamba assigned to Washington DC, Mr Stuart Comberbach appointed the new permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and Mr Amon Mutembwa deployed to Brussels Belgium.

After a closed-door meeting with the President, the three envoys had a common view on the renewal of illegal sanctions by US President Joe Biden saying it was uncalled for – considering the commitment by the new dispensation on engagement and re-engagement policy.

The three ambassadors believe that their diplomatic mission to the three powerhouses of the western nations will open room for constructive dialogue that will promote and revitalise favourable bilateral and multilateral relations between Zimbabwe and the outside world.

United States President Joseph Biden has renewed economic sanctions imposed 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, 2022 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 targeted sanctions.

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