US govt slaps Sanyatwe, Ncube with sanctions

Evans Mathanda

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) has slapped the former commander of Zimbabwe’s presidential guard, Anselem Sanyatwe and State Security minister Owen Ncube with sanctions for their involvement in human rights abuses in the aftermath of the July 2018 elections.

Sanyatwe was last year blocked from travelling to the US alongside his wife for his involvement in the deployment of soldiers who shot dead six civilians in central Harare on August 1, 2018.

“Sanyatwe is being designated for being responsible for, or participating in, human rights abuses related to political repression in Zimbabwe pursuant to E.O. 13469,” reads the statement by Ofac.

Ofac also concurrently removed sanctions on Zanu PF luminaries Ray Kaukonde, Shuvai Ben Mahofa, Sithokozile Mathuthu, and Naison Ndlovu, all of whom were previously designated.

“Political and military leaders in Zimbabwe have repeatedly used violence to silence political dissent and peaceful protests,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Justin G. Muzinich. “The Trump Administration will hold accountable corrupt Zimbabwean elites for their repressive and violent rule,” further reads the statement.

Ncube, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s right hand man, was also designated for his involvement in the alleged abduction, torture and assault of opposition supporters using “ferret teams”.

“Ncube is being designated for being responsible for, or participating in, human rights abuses related to political repression in Zimbabwe pursuant to E.O. 13469.”

Department of the Treasury has since March of 2003 used its authority to block property of persons undermining democratic processes and hold accountable persons who commit human rights abuses, engage in corruption, or undermine democratic processes or institutions in the country.

Early this month, the US government extended targeted sanctions imposed on some Zanu PF officials, saying Mnangagwa’s administration “has arguably accelerated its persecution of critics and economic mismanagement in the past year, during which security forces have conducted extrajudicial killings, rapes, and alleged abductions of numerous dissidents.”

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