says US will not be moved by protests, actions have consequences
…sanctions only targets 141 individuals and companies
By Upenyu Chaota
The United States envoy to Zimbabwe Ambassador Brian Nichols has said that only President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration holds the keys to the removal of sanctions if they implement the political and economic reforms which they campaigned on and not waste millions on a march against sanctions as it will not move the American government.
The government of Zimbabwe in support of Sadc have declared October 25 as a day against sanctions on Zimbabwe and President Mnangagwa’s administration has declared the day a public holiday coupled with a march in the capital which will gobble in excess of $4 million.
In a wide ranging interview with TellZim News, Ambassador Nichols said the real sanction that has affected the people of Zimbabwe is the government’s lack of political will to deal with corruption where millions of dollars of public funds are looted wantonly.
“The removal of the restrictive measures against Zimbabwe is something that is wholly in the hands of the government of Zimbabwe.
“The things that we would like to see are political reforms for example the repeal of Posa that has already been voted for in Parliament but is sitting on the President’s desk awaiting signature since August.
“In the meantime Posa has been invoked at least six times to block protests and that sends a message that the repeal is not really a serious issue. Aippa, which covers media, is another piece of legislation that the government campaigned for repeatedly that it was going to repeal but it has not.
“The Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, the legislation sat awaiting parliamentary action for the entire session of the last parliament and it has expired and that is another piece of legislation that this government campaigned upon and said it was going to pass,” said Ambassador Nichols.
He said Zimbabwe needs to start making steps towards implementing reforms and not just talk about them.
“The broad electoral reforms that the government said it was going to implement, there have been retreats led by the Zec to discuss the reforms, five different electoral observation commissions have been here from the international community as well as nationally based electoral observers and they have looked at these reforms but no legislation has been passed.
“These are all things that are well within the government’s ability to resolve,” said Ambassador Nichols.
Ambassador Nichols said the relaxation in implementing the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry has put a dent on Zimbabwe’s path to reform.
“Investigations into the human rights violations have taken place for example the August 1 2018 violence and the Motlanthe commission recommendations have not been implemented and no one has been prosecuted for the shooting that took place on August 1 by the members of the military which resulted in the death of six people. Foreign Affairs Minister SB Moyo said his government is going to prosecute but we haven’t see that prosecution taking place,” said Ambassador Nichols.
He said there are only 141 individuals and companies on the sanctions list and that cannot affect the majority of the population of over 16 million.
“There are 141 people and companies that are on our sanctions list and that is less than 0.0006 percent of the population of Zimbabwe of 16 million and you can’t really say that is affecting the broader population as compared to things like the NSSA scandal where $100 million was stolen, Command agriculture scandal, auditor general’s report of over $2 billion unaccounted for between 2017 – 2018 and between 2018 – 2019 we have already seen $400 million in fertiliser that was procured but never delivered, payments to Sakunda Holdings of millions of dollars between June and August of this year which doubled the money supply and caused the exchange rate and inflation rate to spike.
“These actions have consequences. There are so many scandals where public resources have been taken, drugs have been diverted from the public health system, Zinara scandal where millions have been syphoned from the organisation paying for small things like paying for hair dressers and personal gyms for Zinara officials. That’s the real sanction on the people of Zimbabwe.
“The biggest challenge with the Zimbabwe government is that it has not implemented the reforms it campaigned on. If it does that, the prospects are good for meeting the conditions of Zidera. This government needs to begin to take steps to do that.
“Having a big rally and a concert on Friday does not accomplish that goal and spending $4 million on that when you can spend that money on salaries for teachers or doctors, buying drugs for hospitals and fixing roads, these are better ways to use the money,” said Ambassador Nichols.