US Rolls Back Sanctions on Zimbabwe

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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What You Need to Know:

Through a Presidential Executive Order, the United States’ Department of the Treasury has today announced its termination of a long-held sanctions program in Zimbabwe, while expressing its intent to focus sanctions on 11 individuals and 3 entities involved in “continuing corruption and serious human rights abuses.” 

The 11 sanctioned individuals include President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his wife Auxillia, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Businessman Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei and his wife Sandra, who own Sukunda Holdings and its subsidiaries Fossil Agro and Fossil Contracting, whose director, Obey Chimuka, is also sanctioned. 

The Details: 

Additionally, the former Minister of State Security Owen Ncube, the Deputy Director General of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organization, Walter Tapfumaneyi, Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, and his Deputy-General Stephen Mutamba have also been sanctioned. 

A statement by National Security Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on the program claimed the sanctions program is “in response to new and continuing corruption and serious human rights abuse, the United States is refocusing and elevating its efforts to hold accountable the individuals and entities that are responsible for this exploitation.  Today, the United States is employing a new set of tools in Zimbabwe, including the flagship Global Magnitsky sanctions program, to make clear that the egregious behavior of some of the most powerful people and companies in Zimbabwe matches the actions of the worst human rights abusers and corrupt actors globally.”

“Sanctions on these individuals and entities do not represent sanctions on Zimbabwe or its public.  The Administration reaffirms its commitment to work with the people of Zimbabwe; will continue to robustly support civil society, human rights defenders, and independent media to promote values consistent with the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001; and take additional measures to hold accountable those who deny Zimbabweans the democratic freedoms and good governance they deserve.” Watson continued. 

So, What Now?:

The roll back of sanctions on Zimbabwe signals the United States’ intent to prevent democratic backsliding in the country by focusing its sanctions program on the individuals most responsible for corruption in the country instead of blanket sanctions which inadvertently affect the people of the nation. The move may have come as many Zimbabweans, particularly those in rural areas, are currently suffering from acute food insecurity– the result of an El Nino induced drought. Although it is currently unclear if lessened sanctions will be enough to resolve Zimbabwe’s economic woes.