ZANU PF Celebrates Sanctions Removal
5 March 2024
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Zimbabwe’s Mixed Reactions to U.S. Sanctions Adjustments: Celebration and New Concerns

In a move that has sent ripples through the political landscape of Zimbabwe, the United States, under the leadership of President Joe Biden, has made significant adjustments to its sanctions policy towards Zimbabwe. The U.S. President signed an Executive Order (EO) effectively terminating the national emergency concerning Zimbabwe and revoking previous orders that had authorized specific sanctions against the country.

This development has been met with a wave of celebration by the ZANU PF government of Zimbabwe, lauding it as a victory for the country’s engagement and re-engagement drive under President Mnangagwa. State-controlled media outlets have hailed the decision as a significant stride towards normalizing relations with the United States, emphasizing the end of economic sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) programme.

However, this seemingly positive development comes with a caveat. The implementation of the Global Magnitsky programme, which directly targets key political figures in Zimbabwe with sanctions, has cast a shadow over the celebrations. Prominent individuals, including President Mnangagwa, First Lady Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, and other high-ranking officials, remain under stringent measures, along with three notable companies.

The government media’s narrative has contrasted sharply with concerns raised by political analysts and international observers, who argue that the new sanctions could potentially have more severe implications than those that were lifted. “While the lifting of OFAC sanctions appears to be a step in the right direction, the retention and introduction of targeted sanctions under the Global Magnitsky programme could further complicate Zimbabwe’s international relations and economic recovery efforts,” stated an independent political analyst.

ZANU PF has been placed on international sanctions for over two decades, primarily as a response to allegations of human rights abuses and undermining of democratic processes. The sanctions have had a profound impact on the country’s economy, with significant losses in potential investment and economic growth.

The U.S. government’s stance, as detailed in President Biden’s EO, suggests a nuanced approach to Zimbabwe, aiming to encourage democratic and economic reforms while holding individuals accountable for actions that undermine these processes.

As Zimbabwe navigates this new sanctions landscape, the international community watches closely. The adjustments by the U.S. signal a potential shift in diplomatic relations, but whether this will lead to substantial change within Zimbabwe remains to be seen. Critics and supporters alike are poised to observe the long-term effects of these adjustments on Zimbabwe’s political and economic future.- state media