South Asia and Beyond

US Sanctions Zimbabwe’s President, First Lady For Corruption And Human Rights Abuses

 US Sanctions Zimbabwe’s President, First Lady For Corruption And Human Rights Abuses

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa: Source Twitter

The US has sanctioned Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his wife, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, and eight other senior officials, according to a report in Africa News.

The United States’ Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has stated that the 11 individuals are being targeted for corruption and serious human rights abuses. They will be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program.

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a press conference. “The changes we are making today are intended to make clear what has always been true: our sanctions are not intended to target the people of Zimbabwe.”

“We are refocusing our sanctions on clear and specific targets: President Mnangagwa’s criminal network of government officials and businesspeople who are most responsible for corruption or human rights abuse against the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

An Al Jazeera report stated that Zimbabwe’s government was using smuggling gangs to sell gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars, helping to mitigate the impact of sanctions. Gold is the country’s biggest export.

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Reacting to the latest US-imposed sanctions, Zimbabwe’s government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana, wrote on X. “Well, this is massive. A great vindication of President @edmnangagwa’s Foreign Policy. That said, as long our President is under Sanctions Zimbabwe remains under illegal sanctions, as long as Members of the First Family are under sanctions, Zimbabwe remains under illegal Sanctions, and as long as senior leadership is under sanctions, we are all under sanctions. And as long as members of Corporate Zimbabwe are under Sanctions, we are under Sanctions.”

It isn’t just the US. According to the East African, Zimbabwe is also choking under mounting debt. The country is estimated to owe around $13 billion in loans to China for infrastructure projects. This is a problem that many other African countries are dealing with too.

The government’s stance notwithstanding local reports suggest that Zimbabweans have faced huge crackdowns from the government.  This is particularly true in the realm of business where companies have been targeted by the state who have accused them of “sabotaging the economy.”

This is not the first time that the leaders of this African country have been sanctioned. According to a BBC report, the US had first imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe’s then president Robert Mugabe in the early 1990s along with other senior officials.

Ashwin Ahmad

Traveller, bibliophile and wordsmith with a yen for international relations. A journalist and budding author of short fiction, life is a daily struggle to uncover the latest breaking story while attempting to be Hemingway in the self-same time. Focussed especially on Europe and West Asia, discussing Brexit, the Iran crisis and all matters related is a passion that endures to this day. Believes firmly that life without the written word is a life best not lived. That’s me, Ashwin Ahmad.