The United States has reportedly added more Zimbabweans to its sanctions list, with the possibility of a review after elections in July.
According to NewsDay, highly placed government sources said that the US sent a diplomatic note to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo two weeks ago saying that although it recognised the authorities in Harare, it would extend sanctions.
The report said that the sanctions were believed to include ministers who were sworn in recently to join President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet.
The US also made it clear 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 ex-president Robert 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.
The latest development came a few days after reports said that Britain and the European Union were divided over “the funding and support” to be given to Zimbabwe.
The privately owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said that while the British government was on an “aggressive drive” to bail out its former colony as “quickly as possible”, the EU had adopted a “wait and see” approach.
The EU wanted Mnangagwa’s government to match its positive messages with action, particularly on the implementation of critical political and economic reforms before committing significant funding to the cash-strapped government.
Mnangagwa himself has pledged a free and fair election.