‘We’re looking at how we can work with Mnangagwa’s govt,’ -US envoy
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has reportedly got a vote of confidence from the US
London, March 8, 2018 (AltAfrika)-The United States has reportedly said that it has not slapped Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government with sanctions but has just “carried over ‘targeted measures’ from former president Robert Mugabe’s reign”.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, US acting assistant secretary for African Affairs, Don Yamamoto said that his government recognised Mnangagwa’s administration despite the manner in which he came into power.
Mnangagwa became Zimbabwe’s president after a military intervention ended Mugabe’s decades-old rule last year.
“When the transition from Mugabe to Mnangagwa happened, SADC countries as well as the African Union (AU) held high hopes that this will be the start of really making profound economic and political reforms. We are looking at how we can work with Zimbabwe. Our ambassador Harry Thomas has met with president Mnangagwa not just on the future of Zimbabwe but also the role Zimbabwe plays. Zimbabwe is important to the region. The sanctions are directed at individuals based on governance issues derived obviously from the Mugabe period,” Yamamoto was quoted as saying.
Yamamoto said this while briefing journalists on US secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s African tour.
He said that the US government was looking at a post Mugabe era and sanctions against the country would be reviewed.
Yamamoto’s remarks came following reports last month that the US government had added more Zimbabweans to its sanctions list, with the possibility of a review after elections in July.
According to highly placed government sources, the US sent a diplomatic note to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo saying that although it recognised the authorities in Harare, it would extend sanctions.
The sanctions were believed to include ministers who were sworn in recently to join Mnangagwa’s cabinet.
The US made it clear at the time that Mnangagwa’s administration was a “product of a military coup”.
“The US is very clear that Mnangagwa came to power through a coup although the authorities in Harare have done everything in their power to avoid this word (coup). It was also indicated that the general elections expected in July will be the benchmark on which the sanctions will be reviewed,” a source was quoted as saying.
The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000, after they accused Mugabe of trampling on human rights, rigging elections and repression of press freedom – accusations that the nonagenarian denied.
The sanctions led to devastating economic challenges, with the country reportedly now sitting with about 85% unemployment.