By Mary Taruvinga
A NUMBER of high ranking government officials are under probe for human rights violations and risk being slapped with individual sanctions if found to be trampling upon citizens’ rights, a senior US official has warned.
Speaking during a teleconference from his Washington base with Zimbabwean journalists Thursday, Assistant Secretary Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Robert Destro, said if the US gathered credible evidence of human rights abuses by other top officials not on its sanctions list, the US would not hesitate to place them under restrictive measures.
However, he said the process of placing one under sanctions was a “lengthy and sensitive process”.
“All I can tell you is that it’s a lengthy process. It’s very fact sensitive. We try and be very fair to everybody involved. It’s not exactly a judicial process, but it’s pretty close to one,” said Destro.
“So all I can tell you is that if we have credible evidence that people would be eligible, we will consider it and run through the process.”
Close to 100 senior government, current and former Zanu PF officials remain on the US sanctions list.
This week, the US government removed businessman and former senior Zanu PF politician, Ray Kaukonde, the late former provincial ministers Shuvai Mahofa, also late Sithokozile Mathuthu and former Senate Deputy President Naison Ndlovu from the list. Ndlovu is also late.
However, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on the same day also added former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Presidential Guard commander Anselem Sanyatwe and State security minister Owen Ncube on sanctions for their alleged involvement in human rights abuses.
Sanyatwe is now Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Tanzania.