Deputy ZRP boss put on United States sanctions list; deemed complicit in repression and defending Zanu PF

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By Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Deputy Commissioner-General, Stephen Mutamba, has been included on the United States’ list of “rogue elements”, who are stifling democracy in the country.

The high-ranking cop is the only new addition, facing accusations of closing democratic space by repeatedly threatening and assaulting known and perceived Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) activists, as well as meddling in elections with intent to rig results.

Mutamba (61), in his capacity as deputy commissioner responsible for administration, oversees the granting or refusal of permission to hold political meetings.

This Thursday, the US Treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Mutamba, making him the only new entrant on the infamous list of targeted persons.

Eleven other people were removed from the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List) under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme.

A statement from the OFAC outlined reasons why Mutamba was added among individuals labelled persona non grata in the US.

Reads the statement: “The Zimbabwe sanctions programme targets human rights abusers and those who undermine democratic processes or facilitate corruption.

“OFAC also designated Stephen Mutamba, the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Deputy Commissioner for Administration, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13469 for his role in undermining Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions.

“Over the past two years, Mutamba has taken actions that threaten and undermine legitimate political parties who oppose the policies of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party.

“In 2020, Mutamba supported Zimbabwe security services’ use of pressure and intimidation on prominent opposition figures. Also in 2020, Mutamba supported the uneven enforcement of a COVID-related curfew, encouraging security forces to limit opposition activities and did not allow for foreign national officials located in Zimbabwe to meet with Zimbabwean opposition parties or civil society groups.

“In 2021, Mutamba advocated that vote tallies not be displayed outside polling locations and that international observers should not be allowed to monitor the 2023 elections.”

As a result of his designation, all property and interests in property of Mutamba located in the US, or in the possession or control of US persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more in the aggregate by Mutamba, are also blocked.

The OFAC emphasised sanctions do not target the Zimbabwean people, the country of Zimbabwe, or the country’s banking sector.

The 11 individuals removed from the SDN list were either deceased or have been deemed to no longer undermine the democratic processes and institutions.

Names deleted as a result of death are late former airforce commander and Agriculture minister, Perrence Shiri, Kenneth Manyonda, Tendai Savanhu, Joel Biggie Matiza, Absolom Sikhosana, Simon Khaya-Moyo and former prisons
boss Paradzai Zimondi.

Surviving individuals struck off the list include, former Higher Education minister Olivia Muchena and former deputy Health minister Edwin Muguti.