POLICE Deputy Commissioner (administration) Stephen Mutamba has been added to the United States sanctions list for his “role in undermining democratic processes” in Zimbabwe, NewsDay Weekender has learnt.
This came as the US government said it would also delist 11 individuals from the sanctions list on grounds that they are either deceased or no longer warrant determination.
The police have been accused of systematically cracking down on human rights defenders and banning opposition rallies.
In a statement yesterday, US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said Mutamba was among key government officials outed for undermining democratic processes in the country.
“The United States is also designating Stephen Mutamba, the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s deputy commissioner for administration, pursuant to Executive Order 13469 for his role in undermining Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions,” Price said.
“Over the past two years, Mutamba has organised a host of actions that threaten and undermine legitimate political parties and others who oppose the policies of the government of Zimbabwe or the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) party. It is vital that the Government of Zimbabwe allows full participation across the political spectrum.”
He added: “The United States continues to stand with the Zimbabwean people against corruption, human rights abuses, and efforts to undermine democratic processes or institutions. We will not hesitate to designate those who undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions or otherwise fall within the scope of our sanctions programme.
"The US is delisting 11 individuals from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List; based on a determination they no longer warrant inclusion on the SDN List. The 11 individuals being removed from the SDN list are either deceased or have been deemed to no longer undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions.
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“The Zimbabwe sanctions programme is a policy-driven programme that targets human rights abusers and those who undermine democratic processes or facilitate corruption. US sanctions do not target the Zimbabwean people, the country of Zimbabwe, or Zimbabwe’s banking sector. Sanctions are not intended to be permanent but to incentivise change, and these delistings reflect that.
“Each year, the US government removes hundreds of individuals and entities from the SDN List. Each removal is based on a thorough review. Maintaining the integrity of US sanctions is a high priority and is the driving principle behind a rigorous review process that evaluates every request for removal individually on its merits and applies consistent standards to all of them.”