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Zanu-PF gate-crashes US's sanctions Press briefing

by Staff reporter
07 Mar 2024 at 00:11hrs | Views
Zanu-PF yesterday accused the United States of shutting the door for engagement after its members were barred from gate-crashing a Press conference where US embassy officials were explaining the new sanctions regime.

NewsDay witnessed members of the shadowy Citizens Against Economic Sanctions with ruling party links being barred from attending the presser.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and 13 other individuals, who include his wife First Lady, Auxillia, were on Monday targeted with fresh sanctions under the Global Magnitsky (GloMag) sanctions programme.

They were sanctioned for corruption and human rights violations. The GloMag programme revokes the Zimbabwe-specific sanctions programme in place since 2003.

Also sanctioned under the new programme is Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri.

Central Intelligence Organisation deputy director Walter Tapfumaneyi, businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei, his wife Sandra Mpunga, businessman Obey Chimuka, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, deputy police commissioner Stephen Mutamba and Midlands minister Owen Ncube are also on the list.

Tagwirei's Sakunda Holdings, which the US Treasury said has facilitated State corruption, as well as Fossil Agro and Fossil Contracting are also targeted.

Yesterday, US Embassy officials held a presser in Harare to explain the new sanctions regime, but Zanu-PF officials were not amused after they were barred from attending the Press conference.

Zanu-PF director of information and publicity, Farai Marapira, yesterday told NewsDay that they were not happy that their members were barred from attending the presser.

"Our people were blocked from attending the Sanctions press conference," Marapra said.

"We had to ask some inside people who had Press cards to attend the event. This shows that they are not ready for engagement and answer difficult questions.

"We will be guided whether there is any willingness to change or it's just an attempt to sanitise an already existing regime of illegal sanctions which they have no right under international law to be placed in Zimbabwe in the first place."

During the presser, US embassy Chargé d'Affaires, Laurence Socha said the United States is committed to upholding core values of respect for human rights and responsible, transparent governance.

"The United States is committed to ensuring our sanctions are timely, relevant and targeted against individuals responsible for corruption and serious human rights abuses," Socha said.

"In Zimbabwe, we continue to witness gross abuses of political, economic and human rights. The targeting of civil society and severe restrictions on political and human rights [is] a major concern for the United States."

Socha reaffirmed the US's commitment to working with the people of Zimbabwe.

"This sanctions transition is a key factor in the United States' commitment to working with the people of Zimbabwe. US sanctions are not on the country of Zimbabwe, we are refocusing our sanctions on specific and clear individuals and entities."

He urged the government to take concrete steps to be more open and democratic, including addressing corruption.

Socha said the US will continuously make regular adjustments to the sanctions programme, including adding and removing individuals based on available evidence.

"US sanctions are not intended to be permanent. Our sanctions are most effective when they are up to date and reflect realities on the ground and that's why we made the change at this time," he explained, indicating that the US policy has not changed its focus of supporting the citizens of Zimbabwe and its democratic institutions.

"US sanctions are not intended to be permanent. One of the primary goals of US sanctions is to bring about positive changes in behaviuor and that might take time," he said, while calling on the government, especially the targeted individuals, to take concrete steps toward democratic reforms.

"We hope that business and financial institutions and investors have a new look at Zimbabwe's markets and connections with its people.

"We see this as an opening for a constructive relationship between the people of the United States and Zimbabwe so that all 16 million people here have opportunities," Socha added.

Source - newsday
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