US Sanctions On Zimbabwe To Stay

A fortnight ago, a US senator, Jim Inhofe who is also a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee introduced a bill that proposes to repeal the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act of 2001.

Inhofe said his Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010 was motivated by the positive changes brought about by the formation of the unity government last year between President Robert Mugabe and his former rivals.

The bill was the third such proposal brought before the American congress and Senate since the formation of the unity government and the proposed legislation had brought a glimmer of hope that the sanctions will soon be lifted.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has also called for the restrictions to be eased to reward the progress made by the inclusive government.

But Ray told an editors roundtable in Harare that the bills that have been proposed by different senators and congressmen did not reflect US policy towards Zimbabwe.

He said although the sanctions were under constant review, the decision to remove them would be influenced by progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and respect for human rights.

“It is safe to say they (sanctions) will remain in place until there is real and tangible reforms that benefit the people of Zimbabwe,” Ray said.

He said there was no guarantee the three bills that had been proposed would lead to the lifting of the sanctions.

US President Barrack Obama recently bemoaned President Robert Mugabe’s reluctance to fully implement the GPA.

Ray said the mere introduction of the bill to Senate or Congress did not amount to concrete steps to remove the sanctions.

He explained that for the bills to become law they will go through several complex stages that take time and a lot of scrutiny.