US Warns of New Sanctions Against Robert Mugabe And His Henchmen

HARARE – The US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, has warned of new targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and senior members of his party unless they show "absolute ability" to change.\r\n

Speaking to journalists on various issues, Ambassador McGee said sanctions against Mugabe and senior members of his party will remain in place until they have shown positive movement.

 

McGee said the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act (Zidera), passed by the American congress in 2001, will remain effective until there was ‘positive’ movement by the inclusive government.

“Zidera and the individual sanctions are in place and they are going to remain in place until we see some positive movement. We are going to continue to look at things such as Zidera to see how it does affect this government to move forward. If I were to make a bet I would say you would probably see Zidera taken off the table before you would see the individual sanctions,” said McGee.

Zidera is an act passed by the United States Congress sanctioned to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery in Zimbabwe. It was passed at the height of the often violent farm invasions and political violence that followed Zimbabwe’s 2000 parliamentary elections in which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wrestled 57 seats from ZANU PF.

Former President George W. Bush first imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2003. The sanctions target scores of people and companies linked to President Mugabe with travel bans and asset freezes.

“The individual sanctions are against people and people need to show us absolute ability to change, without which those individuals’ sanctions will remain. In fact you might see more individual sanctions. We will continue to review Zidera in light of what this unity government is doing,” he said.

Although the American government will continue to provide development aid to Zimbabwe, McGee said that there will be no development aid to Zimbabwe “until we see forward movement with respect to respect for human rights, rule of law, those types of issues, the answer is, we are still waiting.

“We need to see better forward movement before we are going to get into development assistance to the government of Zimbabwe.”

Perpetrators of violence must be punished, according to the US ambassador. “These people need to be stopped. The perpetrators should be brought to justice given a fair trial to face the problems of the people they have abused,” he said.

On the inclusive government, McGee said that it had not yet fulfilled all the terms of the Global Political Agreement as prescribed by the regional bloc, SADC. The GPA, signed by long time rivals Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, formed an inclusive government in Zimbabwe

“If you look at the plan as drawn up for the inclusive government by SADC, it’s not quite working yet so a few things need to be done to bring in total conformity with the SADC agreement that both parties signed although we have seen tremendous movement on the economic front.”

He added: “We have seen tremendous movement on the economic front, we no longer see the uncontrolled printing of money, inflation which had been running in quintillions of percentage points, last month was negative 2.5 percent, this is movement in the right direction.”

“Other things as the rule of law, respect for human rights are not moving at a rapid pace to satisfy us,” said McGee. (Africa News)