Mnangagwa summons US Ambassador over Sanyatwe sanction

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By Costa Nkomo

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government Friday summoned US ambassador to Harare, Brian Nichols to register its displeasure over a drastic Thursday decision by the superpower to place former ZNA Presidential Guard Brigade commander Anselem Sanyatwe and his wife, Chido on the US sanctions list.

The ministry confirmed this in a Friday statement.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 2 August 2019 summoned the ambassador of the United States of America to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Brian Nichols,” read a statement by …

“He met the secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador James Manzou. The purpose of the summons was to express the displeasure of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe over the public designation of His Excellency Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe…”

Sanyatwe, who is now Zimbabwe’s ambassador-designate to Tanzania, was blacklisted by the US over his role in the army killing of six civilians and the injury of many more during fierce rioting that rocked central Harare just after the July 31, 2018 elections.

The US Department of State Thursday said there was solid evidence the former military boss was involved in gross violation of human rights during ill-fated protests which elicited a brutal military reaction with six people gunned down.

“The department has incredible information that Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe was involved in the violent crackdown against unarmed Zimbabweans during post-election protests on August 1 2018 that resulted in six civilian death,” said the US.

The US move has annoyed Harare with Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Shepherd Gwenzi saying the decision by Washington was regrettable.

“The decision by the Washington is regrettable as it comes at a time that government at  is intensifying the implementation of political and economic reforms including the (Former South African President Kgalema) Motlanthe Commission Report recommendations,” said Gwenzi.

“This runs counter to the spirit and substance of reengagement. These sovereign processes must be allowed to conclude.”

Earlier in the day, the government issued a press statement accusing the US of posturing and putting up a bid to derail Zimbabwe’s painstaking international reengagement agenda.

“We therefore wish to place on record our strong displeasure of actions to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and condemn posturing meant to fan divisions rather than initiate national healing and understanding.”

Foreign diplomats that include US, European Union (EU), Netherlands and Sweden, international human rights organisations Thursday demanded accountability on the August 1 killings as churches and NGOs led commemorations to remember the dead six.

The diplomats also demanded that the Motlanthe Commission recommendations be implemented so that Zimbabwe could find closure with the August 1 killings.