Zimbabwe government has reacted angrily to the placement on sanctions of former army commander Anselem Sanyatwe over his involvement in the August 1 2018 shootings in which six people were shot dead by soldiers on the streets of Harare.
In a statement released yesterday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana said the move by the US government undermined the country’s sovereignty.
“It is our position that sanctions imposed on our country are illegal and any escalation of the same is counterproductive,” said Mangwana.
He added that the President Emerson Mnangagwa administration had made efforts to address the August 1 shootings through the setting up of a commission of Inquiry headed by former South African President Kgalema Montlante.
“To get to the bottom of this tragedy, President Mnangagwa showed leadership and a quest for transparency by appointing a Commission of Inquiry comprised of international luminaries to enquire into the events,” said Mangwana.
According to US Secretary of State, Sanyatwe was placed on sanctions due to his involvement in human rights abuses.
“The Department has credible information that Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe was involved in the violent crackdown against unarmed Zimbabweans during post-election protests on August 1, 2018 that resulted in six civilian deaths,” reads part of the US statement.
The US government said one year after the August 1 shootings, no member of the security forces has been held accountable for the acts of violence committed.
“To date, the Government of Zimbabwe has held no member of the security forces accountable for the acts of violence committed against Zimbabweans on August 1, 2018.
“We again call on Zimbabwean authorities to hold accountable those officials responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Zimbabwe,” further reads the US statement.
However, the Zimbabwe government said the action of the United States was clearly meant to fan divisions in the country.
“We therefore wish to place it on record our strong displeasure of actions to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and condemn posturing meant to fan divisions rather that initiate national healing and understanding,” said Mangwana.