US to Maintain Sanctions on Mugabe, Zanu PF Officials

via U.S to Maintain Sanctions Imposed on Mugabe, Zanu PF Officials by Blessing  Zulu for VOA Zimbabwe

American lawmakers say they will not lift sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, though they say they may try to refine the sanctions to reduce the impact on average Zimbabweans.

The United States House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing Thursday entitled “The Troubling Path Ahead for U.S.-Zimbabwe Relations.”  Chairperson Representative Christopher Smith said the purpose of the hearing was to examine US policy, especially the sanctions, following what he termed a “problematic” election.

Testifying before the committee, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs, Shannon Smith, called the presidential and parliamentary elections of July 31st a missed opportunity for Zimbabwe.

“The United States and other members of the international community had clearly communicated, both publicly and privately, a willingness to consider rolling back sanctions and other restrictions on Zimbabwe and charting a path to full normalization of relations – if Zimbabwe demonstrated that it was ready to allow its deserving people to freely choose their next government through a fair, peaceful, and credible election.”

Deputy Secretary Smith argued that sanctions are intended to punish individuals in Zimbabwe who want to maintain power and wealth while suppressing ordinary people.

“We therefore continue to maintain targeted sanctions aimed at those who are actively undermining democracy in Zimbabwe and thus depriving all its citizens of a more democratic, prosperous future.”

But according to Zanu-PF, it is the sanctions that are responsible for depriving citizens of prosperity.  This claim, Deputy Secretary Smith noted, is a “misperception.”

“In the future, we will not be swayed by the attempts of President Mugabe and his party to blame Zimbabwe’s economic misfortunes and disastrous economic mismanagement – on the United States and other governments that maintain targeted sanctions on a select group of individuals and entities. We do, however, want to communicate our message clearly. Those who benefit most from the status quo – influential officials within the Zimbabwean government and the defense and security sectors – will no doubt remain the most vocal critics of the United States and other Western countries, and they will continue to rely on state domination of the media to perpetuate misperceptions about U.S. policy.”

Speaking at the same hearing, Representative Ed Royce also took a swipe at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for rushing to endorse President Robert Mugabe after a flawed election.

“The performance of SADC has really been a disappointment here. Heralded by the administration at the start of the summer as a force for positive change in Zimbabwe, SADC in my opinion is still adding to the problem as they failed in the past to speak out and this time the Parliamentary group assessment of the July elections I think, terribly missed the mark. Miraculously they concluded that the elections were a credible reflection of the will of the people, free and fair.”

Royce compared the SADC statement with views from civil society organizations and other domestic observers, which found “rampant voter roll tampering, political harassment and intimidation.”

Also giving testimony, United States Agency for International Development Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, Todd Amani, said Washington will now shift its focus from good governance to humanitarian aid as Zimbabwe is facing a food crisis.

“A recent vulnerability assessment indicates that due to a poor agricultural season, as many as 2.2 million vulnerable people may require food assistance during the upcoming hunger season (September 2013-March 2014) – an increase from 1.6 million estimated in need from the prior year and the highest level since 2009. In anticipation of this season’s humanitarian response, USAID has already provided nearly $15 million in food commodities and anticipates providing additional emergency food assistance resources before the end of this fiscal year.

“While the economy has slowly stabilized since the disastrous crisis of 2008, the recent, deeply flawed elections represent a disturbing political and democratic setback from the cautious and sober optimism five years ago at the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU).”

International Advocacy Coordinator of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Arthur Gwagwa, told the committee that from the Zimbabwean perspective, there are options—including the status quo or the total removal of sanctions, or a progressive removal of sanctions.  Here he refers to sections of a brief submitted to the hearing.

“Firstly, the maintenance of sanctions until all agreed reforms per Appendix 1 are achieved or remedied. The second option is for the immediate removal of all sanctions, on the basis of collective but diverse reasons per Appendix 2.  Finally, the USA could pursue a third option, which involves a staggered review of sanctions in response to progress.”

President Mugabe said Wednesday that Zimbabwe will not be “destroyed” by Western sanctions and will rely on its natural resources and friendly countries for survival. Mr. Mugabe made the remarks during a press conference soon after swearing in new cabinet ministers for another five-year term.

Currently, the Specially Designated Nationals on the US sanctions list includes 113 individuals, including President Mugabe and now Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.  There are 70 entities on the list, as well, including the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe and Oryx Diamonds Limited.

Beyond the issue of sanctions, Representative Royce also criticized the makeup of the new cabinet, calling it a recycling of old Zanu-PF hardliners.  Royce singled out Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Mr. Chinamasa for suppressing media reforms and the independence of the judiciary, respectively.

Imani Countess is the Africa Region Program Director for the Solidarity Center, an International Worker Rights Development Organization.  Speaking on behalf of labor, Ms. Countess accused Mr. Mugabe’s government of infringing on workers’ rights prompting the International Labor Organization to act.

​“In October this year, the International Labor Organization (ILO) will send a high-level technical team to Zimbabwe to implement recommendations made by a Commission of Inquiry in 2009 and 2010 on respect for Freedom of Association and the Right to Bargain Collectively.  Zimbabwe’s ongoing and systematic failure to respect Freedom of Association led to Zimbabwe’s inclusion in the June 2013 hearings at the ILO’s Committee on Application of Standards as one of the 25 worst countries regarding labor rights violations.

“In addition to some of the events noted previously, legal submissions made to the international body noted that Zimbabwe has failed to uphold international labor standards and even failed to ensure compliance with national laws.”

No one representing the government of Zimbabwe was at the hearing. But VOA Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reached Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo who said he is not amused by the U.S. actions.

“America wanted the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to win the elections. The sanctions are a regime change agenda and they are hurting ordinary citizens.”

The United States of America imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his top officials in 2001 for alleged human rights abuses.


  • comment-avatar
    Collin Mackenzie 9 years ago

    Obama must place sanctions on Kenya, Egypt and Siyra.

    Why is he so concerned about Zimbabwe yet Kenya is worse off, is it because it’s his place of birth that he has never foot.

    Mugabe must start his indigestion programmes with the take over of all American owned subsidiary companies and organisations a technical tit for tat . America has no value or even done anything good for Zimbabwe even during the times of Zimbabwe liberation struggle, Russia and China have always been there and will continue to be there for Zimbabwe.

    To hell with Obama his term will be over will Mugabe will still be in office and that’s eating his black sole.

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      America has to give its decision you numb head

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        maisokwazo 9 years ago

        Thank you America! thank you! thank you! The tyrrants thought and think they can deceive the world! STUPID IDIOTS!they reduced the JEWEL of Africa to nonthingness They think people eat diamonds, people eat driving porsche cars on rugged roads people drink wine in Malasiyan hotels STUPID and VERY STUPID DEVILS ADVOCATES.
        Only stupid people believe stupid utterances about sanctions sanctions sanctions on who on Mugabe and his co-horts Who does not know that the so-called sanctions is just a smoke screen for looters and are now crying because they can’t access their loot fairly. Let them brag that China and Russia will be there for them. Let the Chinese finish milking the Zimbabwe resources dry then lets see the Chinese being there for them. Wait and see. America PLEASE NEVER LET GO until and I know they shall bow down. Make them sleepless.LOOTERS MURDERERS! CANNIBALS!

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      Zeezee 9 years ago

      You are an idiot Zanu PF supporter! Zimbabwe is using American currency and rely on USAID to feed the starving masses. The sanctions are against the thieves running Zimbabwe, which they so rightly deserve.

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        Pastor 9 years ago

        Well said!

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          Roger Zulu 9 years ago

          And so say all of us! Generally speaking ZANU PF is horribly corrupt. Compare Zimbabwe now to when it was handed over. I rest my case.

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      John Steele 9 years ago

      Well done America! And you are a idiot! have you ever lived in Zimbabwe?

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    Nyepudzayi 9 years ago

    ZANU PF have the audacity to threaten theUSA government when they are using their currency. It shows how ignorant they are ,what if tomorrow the USA withdraws its currency will ZANU PF get the Zhing Zhong Currency?

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    lies and cheap propaganda will always be cheap propaganda and the truth shall prevail. Let those who benefit from Mugabeism defend their loot. Fools can help them but the majority must stand for the truth.

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    shepard 9 years ago

    Thank America for not lifting sanctions coz these so call zanu pf they don’t care about the people of zimbabwe

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    Collin Mackenzie 9 years ago

    The US $ is not the only currency that Zimbabwe can use they can use the Yen or even better bring back the Zimbabwean dollar, its about time.

    How fake is America,? Sanctions on Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe is using the USA The US $.
    Why do they not sanction and stop Zimbabwe from using the US $ why?

    It is because they are gaining and they think they can control Zimbabwe.

    The Reputation of the Obama government is so simple minded and the only thing on the Americans mind is war.

    This is not about Mugabe its absolutely about Zimbabwe and those stupid fools are slowly loosing their respective grip on the world at large and now they are in a classic style of bullying and the whole world is now open minded and up for the challenge of the Americans who have lost all respect and the even the least give them an air or listen to the America’s who’s track record on gross violence against other countries is so bad and corrupt.

    To the extent they think they are the world’s big brother and that’s why they are always hit by natural disasters.

    The hand of God is dealing collectively with the America’s for the gross blood shed to innocent people,families and countries are only interested in doing something right for a real and just cause to the benefit the most important thing to consider or even think of is that of a good life and jobs for the good of all.

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      Thank God America has a sense of decency and courage of conviction to show tyrants like Mugabe (and the thugs he surrounds himself with) what they are worth. They might not yet be able to jail these thieves but one day son the world will stand in unison and close down Zanu and lock them all up as they deserve.
      An idiot like Colin Mackenzie (real name probably Johnno Moyo or Georgie Charamba) can write this rubbish knowing nobody seriously agrees with him.

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      sinyoro 9 years ago

      Beacause the sanctions are targeted on few scoundrels so why recall the usd used by everyone?

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    U go robert mugabe most of de people dy dont knw what ur fightin for. But one day they wil see dat wat u were tryin to do was goin to benefit the country

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    Jackson 9 years ago

    Collin Mackenzie: You are one of the fools/idiots. Your criticism of Obama is way off the point.

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    gukurahundi 9 years ago

    collin urimbwa

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    Davy Mufirakureva 9 years ago

    You only deceive fulls

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    Sibangilizwe Lethube 9 years ago

    This comment is directed to colin mckenzie.I thought you are a clever stupid but is seems you idiot stupid. MDC -T brought the american dollar knowing very well that you senior mugabe will love the USA dollar.Can you tell me why is your country using the American currency? why not use the chinese, russian,and sadc currencies and worse still what’s the holdup on using your own currency.I need an answer as soon as possible so that I can raise you up from a stupid idiot to a clever stupid.

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    Davy Mufirakureva 9 years ago

    I meant to say Mugabe only deceives fools

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    The U.S and international community should also add the Jewish company that helped rig the elections to the group of organizations that fall under the sanctions.

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    muchapower. 9 years ago

    Point of correction about the US$. It was Zanu PF through the then finance minister Chinamasa who brought multiple currency.

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    muchapower. 9 years ago

    I am surprised if the people supporting sanctions are Zimbabweans. Guys, all the ministers and MPs, even during GNU, own cars, houses, businesses. If 70 companies are denied to do business in USA it means their growth is compromised and this affect their prductivity, employment prospects etc. If 113 businessmen are also denied same happens. In the end its us the grassroots who suffer most. Bob and his people will never sleep without food in their bodies. Its us who suffer.

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    Roger Zulu 9 years ago

    Ummmm, I wonder if the USA will ever drop the US$ for the Zim dollar! Lol

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    tofazvedu 9 years ago

    Muchapower and Collin are you benefiting from ZanuPf. Even if it means going without food what difference does it make now. They dont care about the people of Zimbabwe but what they get out of the people. They have everything and still want more and that’s why they want sanctions lifted So that they can extend their loot to other countries. Thank you America. Western countries and EU must reinstate sanctions on those that were lifted before elections. Please make them suffer more.

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    nyepudzayi 9 years ago

    colin vakuru vakati chinobhururuka chinomhara. The time will come when MUGABE will be gone and I wonder if all of you will volunteer freely to go with him. What a shame we have people in our society who always what to blame other people for their own mistakes, people who cannot tell the difference between right and wrong. ZANU PF is a disgrace to all peace loving ZIMBABWEANS FOR INSTILLING FEAR ,HATRED AND RUINS TO OUR COUNTRY .What used to BE the sun shine city is now a shanty town .
    Stop criticising the USA because you are no better than them ,clean your dirty house first and feed your children.

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    Macon Pane 9 years ago

    There’s an old adage that if you shout a big enough lie loud enough and long enough, folks will begin believing it. So, ya have here examples of ZANU-PF attempting to capitalize on that to change public opinion in the hopes of absolving President Mugabe of his having destroyed the Zim economy for the sake of personal gain. How so foolish they look standing there naked.