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US imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe's president, first lady and 9 top officials

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa takes his oath, during his inauguration ceremony at the National Sports Stadium in the capital, Harare, Monday, Sept. 4 2023.   -  
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Tsvangirayi Mukwazh/AP


The U.S. on Monday imposed sanctions on Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, the Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and 8 other senior officials.

The United States' Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control accuses the 11 individuals and 3 entities of being involved in corruption or serious human rights abuse.

Mnangagwa is accused of protecting gold and diamond smugglers who operate in Zimbabwe, directing government officials to facilitate the sale of gold and diamonds in illicit markets and taking bribes in exchange for his services, among other offenses.

The U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said they were being designated under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program.

The designations are part of a new sanctions policy towards Zimbabwe the United States is implementing following President Biden’s approval of a new Executive Order terminating the Zimbabwe sanctions program that had been in effect since 2003. 

President Joe Biden also Monday signed an executive order that terminates Zimbabwe’s national emergency and revokes Zimbabwe-specific sanctions. Now, the administration is using a Trump-era executive order that implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act as its authority to issue the sanctions.

As a result of designations, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked.

The White House said in a statement that "Sanctions on these individuals and entities do not represent sanctions on Zimbabwe or its public. The Administration reaffirms its commitment to work with the people of Zimbabwe; will continue to robustly support civil society, human rights defenders, and independent media to promote values consistent with the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 [Editor's Note: ; and take additional measures to hold accountable those who deny Zimbabweans the democratic freedoms and good governance they deserve."

In 2022, the U.S. sanctioned one the sons of Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr.

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