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US calls for 'new-look' at Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2024 at 07:52hrs | Views
The United States government says it stands ready for a "constructive relationship" with Zimbabwe adding the latest developments presented an opportunity for businesses to explore possible opportunities in the southern African country.

This week, the US President Joe Biden terminated the Zimbabwe sanctions programme while the country's Treasury imposed fresh restrictive measures under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016 tightening sanctions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, business tycoon Kuda Tagwirei and others they allege were involved in human rights violations and corruption a claim dismissed by the Harare administration.

Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) terminating the national emergency with respect to Zimbabwe and revoking the executive orders that have authorized Zimbabwe-specific sanctions.

This means the economic sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), pursuant to the Zimbabwe sanctions programme are no longer in effect and for the first time in over 20 years, the US removed one of the key impediments in Foreign Direct Investment into Zimbabwe.

US Embassy Zimbabwe Chargé d'Affaires Laurence Socha said the latest development was an opportunity for business to have a "new look at Zimbabwe."

"We see it as an opportunity for businesses to have a new look at Zimbabwe," he told journalists yesterday. "It was hard under a previous programme titled the Zimbabwe Sanctions Programme to get away from perceptions that you could not do business in Zimbabwe. That is not true. We hope that business and financial institutions and investors have a new look at Zimbabwe market and connections with its people."

"Lastly we see this as an opening for a constructive relationship between the people of US and Zimbabwe so that all 16mn people here have the opportunity to prosper."

In a March 4 letter to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate on the Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Situation in Zimbabwe, the US President said: "Although I continue to be concerned with the situation in Zimbabwe particularly with respect to acts of violence and other human rights abuses against political opponents and with respect to public corruption, including misuse of public authority, I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency in Executive Order 13288 is no longer needed."

He however, said the sanctions will remain on those alleged to be perpetrating violence and involved in suspected corruption acts.

This has drawn the ire of Zanu-PF officials who feel the continuation of sanctions on the party leader and those close to him despite removing on others was a sign Zimbabwe remain sanctioned.

"We take note of the recalibration of sanctions by the US. This is testimony to the open door policy of President Mnangagwa and the efforts he has been putting in re-engaging with all countries in the world," Zanu-PF Director of Information Farai Marapira said.

"However, suffice to say as long as the President of the country is under sanctions, Zimbabwe remains under sanctions and in all manner and effect, we are still a heavily sanctioned country and we call for all and any sanctions to go unequivocally. We cannot continue to have these sanctions."

Bikita South MP Energy Mutodi said Parliament of Zimbabwe is ready to engage the US to ensure removal of sanctions.

"We at the Parliament of Zimbabwe we are ready to engage with the Congress of the United States of America and the President of the United States of America," Mutodi said.

"We have already done a motion in Parliament which debated whether the US needs to maintain the sanctions regime against Zimbabwe given the fact that they are hurting the citizens of the country.  There is currency volatility, exchange rate volatility, there is unemployment, companies closing, people leaving the country going to seek employment in other countries as a result of the sanctions. We are saying as a country, we need to negotiate with the US so that we cooperate mutually for the benefit of both countries," the former Information Deputy Minister said.

"We believe these talks are possible and this is why we moved this motion which has been adopted in Parliament and is on the Minister of Foreign Affairs desk now probably to facilitate a delegation to reach out to the United States so that we can have these talks so that we ensure the sanctions are lifted to their fullness."

Source - businesstimes
More on: #Sanctions, #Zimbabwe