Zimbabwe Decries US Renewal of Sanctions

Zimbabwe's government says the recent renewal of sanctions imposed on the country by the U.S. government is going to further strain the southern African's nation's ailing economy.

President Donald Trump last week signed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act of 2018, also known as Zidera.

Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo lamented the move.

"Commerce between the two states remain hampered by non-existent bank to bank relations," Moyo said. "Even the amended Zidera Act now acknowledges the economic reforms being achieved by this government and as well the bill's noting that the country has paid its arrears to the IMF and calls for further re-engagement in this areas in order to conclude in other areas.

Both companies from Zimbabwe and U.S., as well individuals are subject to penalties. It cannot therefore naively be claimed that Zidera is targeted at a few individuals and does not affect trade between the U.S. and Zimbabwe, as sometimes the international media has sometimes painted it."

The United States and most Western countries introduced sanctions on Zimbabwe's leadership following reports of election rigging and human rights abuses in 2002 when Robert Mugabe was in power.

Zidera set forth steps Zimbabwe needed to take to have sanctions removed, including insuring last month's election was free and fair.

When Mugabe's successor came into power last November, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to normalize relations with the West by addressing the issues the West had raised.

Moyo on Sunday said Mnangagwa's government had been shocked by the renewal of the sanctions.

"We do not require any form of restrictive measures around our necks at all as people of Zimbabwe," Moyo said. "We appreciate that there was Zidera and the process of unshackling it is a process and cannot be an event. We have been engaging the U.S. government, the U.S. Senate, in this aspect and we believe that a lot of the issues, which are contained the amended act, have already been implemented."

The former army general gave examples of the restoration of the rule of law, credible elections, military neutrality in civilian matters and inviting international observers to the July 2018 general election.

The opposition, however, has challenged the election results and Zimbabwe's constitutional court is expected to hear the application in two weeks.

The ruling Zanu PF was declared winner, which many said was peaceful compared to previous elections. But the army reportedly used live ammunition and killed at least six people during opposition protests of the vote. Moyo said Sunday the government regretted the incident.

Source: Voice of America