Government of Zimbabwe says the extension of economic sanctions on the country by the United States early this week is baffling as it is hinged on a misinformed position that its security forces committed gross human rights violations on the citizens during last year’s protests.
In a statement released this morning, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana said Washington’s decision to further isolate the country from the community of nations was rather “strange.”
“Once again, the Government of the United States has chosen to strangely characterize Zimbabwe as a country that “poses an extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States”. We find this a baffling position. All the Zimbabwean Government asks for is to be allowed space to be a full member of the community of nations transacting without restrictions as other nations do,”
“The Government of Zimbabwe strongly objects to the unfounded assertion that its security forces engaged in acts of extrajudicial killings and rape against its citizens in the last year,” Mangwana said.
However the White House in a statement on the extension of sanctions on Harare argues that since President Emmerson Mnangagwa ‘s elevation to power in November of 2017 and the subsequent election victory of 2018, persecution of critics has accelerated under his watch.
“Unfortunately, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has yet to signal credible political will to implement such reforms. Indeed, the Zimbabwean government has arguably accelerated its persecution of critics and economic mismanagement in the past year, during which security forces have conducted extrajudicial killings, rapes, and alleged abductions of numerous dissidents.” Read the White House statement.
Government critics remain adamant that Mnangagwa’s rule has not been a smooth road for democracy.
“Under Mnangagwa’s fake new dispensation, freedom has been cynically presented as freedom!,” former Information minister, Jonathan Moyo tweeted recently.
In January last year, following a nation-wide protest over a 150 percent fuel increase organized by labor unions, Mnangagwa’s administration went on a persecution spree of opposition party members and various other political activists.
Dozens of main opposition party, MDC officials were charged for various crimes including treason and inciting public violence among others.
Some are still pending prosecution up to this date.
On the flipside, Mnangagwa’s administration has been making efforts to spruce up its tainted human rights image abroad, yet internally it has treated the people’s rights to demonstrate with heavy handedness, critics say.
The latest sanctions extension is a hard blow on Mnangagwa’s reengagement efforts despite a strong regional support against restrictive measures on Zimbabwe.