Govt blasts US over sanctions renewal, denies army killings on civilians

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By Alois Vinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has come out guns blazing criticising the US government for its Wednesday decision to new targeted sanctions on Zimbabwean politicians by another year.

In its decision to extend sanctions, the US said it had observed “the Zimbabwean government has arguably accelerated its persecution of critics and economic mismanagement in the past year, during which security forces have conducted extrajudicial killings, rapes, and alleged abductions of numerous dissidents”.

Responding to the US decision, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government said it was dismayed by the continued diplomatic siege on Harare by the superpower.

“Once again, the government of the United States has chosen to strangely characterise Zimbabwe as a country that poses an extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. We find this a baffling position,” Information permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana said in a statement Thursday.

Mangwana said the country’s continued blacklisting by the superpower was going to hinder its hopes of freely operating and transacting on the global stage like any other country.

He added, “We don’t seek to interfere with the foreign policy or interest of any nation and we have no history of doing that. Our commitment is to the development of our country and the delivery of socio-economic outcomes to our people.”

The top government official denied claims of atrocities perpetrated by the country’s security forces during the ill-fated January 2019 anti-government protests in which 17 were killed, according to independent reports by local NGOs.

“The government of Zimbabwe strongly objects to the unfounded assertion that its security forces engaged in extra-judicial killings and rape against its own citizens in the last year,” he said.

“Any acts of criminality by anyone are subjected to the criminal justice processes of the country.”

Mangwana said President Mnangagwa’s government continued to embark on a pathway to reform in the best interest of the nation.

He called on friendly nations to be patient with Zimbabwe following accusations by the US the Harare administration was doing little in terms of reforms.

“We therefore call upon those nations who wish our country and people well to partner us and be patient with us as we continue to undertake these reforms towards meeting the aspirations of our people,” Mangwana said.