Home » General » U.S. Congratulates, Sanctions Zim

THE United States yesterday tightened its ruinous economic sanctions regime on Zimbabwe by adding one company and several Chinese nationals doing business in the country to a travel and financial blacklist even as it cynically extended a congratulatory message on the eve of the 34th independence anniversary celebrations today.

A statement from the US embassy in Harare quoted US president Barack Obama saying the US remained committed to Zimbabweans and would continue supporting them as they work to build a society that responds to their needs and honours their democratic choices.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom weighed in with a similar congratulatory statement that also skirted mentioning the Government even though the same Zimbabweans they purported to congratulate exercised their democratic rights to give President Mugabe and Zanu-PF a resounding victory in harmonised elections held last year.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo yesterday described the development as “sinister”.

Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede was added to the sanctions list even as 10 Zimbabwean nationals — including businessman Mr Conrad “Billy” Rautenbach — were removed along with dead senior Zanu-PF officials.

The US imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 in protest over the land reform programme and the illegal measures have caused untold suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans.

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions, yesterday said sanctions had been lifted on Zanu-PF senior officials Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and Small to Medium Enterprises and Co-operatives Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni.

Also dropped from the list were the late Vice President John Landa Nkomo former Cabinet minister Kumbirai Kangai Minister Nyoni’s husband, Peter the late national hero Herbert Chitepo’s wife Victoria Charlotte Msipa, wife to former Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa as well as Marian Chombo, the wife to Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo.

But Mudede – the Registrar General of Voters – was added to the list in an apparent sign that the Americans were not happy with Zanu-PF’s crushing victory in last year’s harmonised elections.

Zimbabwean companies SINO Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings, SINO Zim Development and SINO Zim Holdings – all of which are joint ventures between Zimbabwean, Singaporean and Chinese nationals – have been added on the list.

Professor Moyo, last night, described OFAC’s actions as sinister, coming as they did on the eve of Zimbabwe’s 34th independence anniversary, and along with a self-serving congratulatory message from Washington.

“You can’t have a more revealing statement or action about not just how sinister these sanctions are, but also that they’re in fact aimed at undermining our independence and existence as a free country,” Professor Moyo said.

Professor Moyo said the illegal embargo, imposed in conspiracy with the European Union, had been “cynically updated” hours before Zimbabweans celebrated their liberation from British colonial rule in 1980.

“This should open up the eyes and minds of any doubting Thomases out there who believed that there was any sense or virtue in these evil measures. They’re an attack on all of us as Zimbabweans across the full spectrum of political opinion,” the minister added.

He said the “purported removal of some few names” was a “meaningless, old and failed divide-and-rule tactic”, adding: “Even these people whose names have allegedly been removed will continue to be affected by the sanctions.

Muller “Billy” Rautenbach, an Afrikaner businessman, was in 2008 said by the US to have “maintained close relations with the Mugabe regime”. The US claimed he was propping up Zimbabwean officials with his mining proceeds.

Yesterday, the United States also lifted sanctions off Ridgepoint Overseas Development Ltd., a firm linked to Rautenbach.

Professor Moyo said: “We now know that these sanctions are not just about a list of names, they’re about Zimbabwe and all Zimbabweans are affected by these sanctions.

“Only recently, the Americans, in the run-up to the latest action, even imposed sanctions on our elephants. This is how low and evil these people are and honestly, updating their evil sanctions list on the eve of our independence is an ultimate insult.”

David Cohen, the US undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement: “These designations underscore the United States’ commitment to helping the people of Zimbabwe restore the peaceful, democratic, prosperous country they rightly deserve.”

Mudede, he said, “oversaw critical elements” of the July 31, 2013, elections which swept President Mugabe back into power, and which were passed as free and fair by SADC and the African Union who had observers deployed in the country.

The sanctions also targeted Chinese national and Angolan citizen, Sam Pa, who it said was a well-known supporter of President Mugabe. The United States claimed Pa gave more than $1 million, as well as supplies and equipment, to senior Zimbabwean officials to support the country’s intelligence service and linked him to alleged “pre-election intimidation”.

Pa, claims the United States, also facilitated corruption by Zimbabwean government officials through illicit diamond deals.

Jimmy Zerenie, a Singaporean attorney based in Zimbabwe, who is Pa’s business associate, was also placed under sanctions. He is also a director of Sino Zim Development (Pvt) Ltd.

Prof Moyo said: “We’ve lived with these sanctions since 2001 and we’ve become wiser. The inclusion of Chinese nationals or interests shows that they’re now internationalising their evil sanctions.

“It shows that these sanctions aren’t about Zimbabwe but America and its evil foreign policy machinations in global affairs, and that’s why all right thinking people, especially Zimbabweans, and also others across the international community should stand up and resist these measures. America is out of order and it is about time it was told this by the international community.” – Bulawayo Bureau-HR

Source : The Herald