By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER Zimbabwe National Army Presidential Guard Brigade commander and Zimbabwe ambassador-designate to Tanzania, Anselem Sanyatwe has been placed under United States sanctions.
Sanyatwe’s wife and Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Nyanga North, Chido has also been added to the sanctions list.
The US Department of State Thursday said the former commander was heavily involved in gross violation of human rights during the August 1, 2018 army shootings on civilians who had taken to the streets of Harare soon after the July 31 elections to protest the slow release of election results by authorities.
“The Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or gross violation of human rights those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into United States,” the US department said.
“The department has credible 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.
“The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and immediate family members.
“In addition to the designation of Anselem Sanyatwe, the Department is also publicly designating his spouse Chido Machona.”
“To date, the Government of Zimbabwe has held no member of the security forces accountable for the acts of violence committed against Zimbabwean on August 1, 2018.
“Furthermore, there has been no accountability for the excessive use of force by Zimbabwean security forces on civilians in January and February this year which reputedly resulted in at least 13 deaths, 600 victims of violence, torture or rape and more than 1000 arrest.”
The department went on to say that the Zimbabwean authorities must hold accountable those officials responsible for human rights violations.
During the announcement of election results last year, Sanyatwe commanded a standby force that ruthlessly crashed protests by suspected MDC supporters angered by the slow announcement of election results.
The former commander fiercely defended the brigade’s use of brutal force to suppress the protest when he appeared before the former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe-led commission of inquiry into the fatal shootings.