Samantha Power Claims USAID Officials ‘Forcibly Detained’ in Zimbabwe Last Month

What You Need to Know:

A statement released on Friday by Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), claimed that USAID officials conducting an assessment of the ‘development and governance context’ in the country were subject to verbal and physical intimidation, overnight detention, unsafe transportation, prolonged interrogation and deportation by Zimbabwean security services. 

“This is a grave development that follows other serious incidents over the past two years in which U.S. government officials and U.S. citizens experienced harassment and improper treatment from the Zimbabwean authorities. These unjustifiable actions render hollow the Government of Zimbabwe’s claims that it is committed to the reforms necessary for democratic governance and reengagement with the international community,” said Power. 

 

The Details:

Earlier this week, the United States terminated its sanction programme on Zimbabwe, instead focusing its sanction efforts on 11 individuals and 3 entities most involved in ‘continuing corruption and human rights abuses in the country.’ Those under sanction include President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his wife Auxilla, and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga. 

In recent years, the US had expressed concern over Zimbabwe’s democratic backsliding as political freedom under President Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF Party has greatly diminished. 

In January, Nelson Chamisa, Chairman of the opposition CCC Party resigned, claiming the party had been ‘hijacked’ by the government. 

So, What Now?:

The intimidation and deportation of USAID officials, despite USAID’s January provision of 11.27 million dollars worth of food aid to the World Food Programme for distribution in Zimbabwe highlights the difficulties tyrannical governments face when attempting to consolidate power while being simultaneously dependent on foreign aid. 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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