US reiterates ZIDERA conditions

US puts conditions for lifting Zimbabwe sanction

Bulawayo24 by Staff reporter

26 September 2018

THE United States says President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government should move from rhetoric to action on political reforms if sanctions are to be removed and allow direct financial assistance to the country.

The US re-imposed limited economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and re-affirmed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) a week after the July 30 elections, saying the country had no "culture of democracy".

US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols, in a discussion with Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI) fellows yesterday, said the sanctions can only be removed if Mnangagwa's government takes concrete steps to address human rights abuses.

The sanctions have been a contentious issue between the two countries, and former president Robert Mugabe has denied the accusations of human rights abuses. The revised ZIDERA law now includes a demand for free and fair elections.

"If Zimbabwe as a nation fully implements the 2013 Constitution, then the sanction issues will be resolved. Zimbabwe government has made a commitment to do that," Nichols said.

"The Zimbabwean government has put a lot of proposals, but we need to see concrete actions towards those proposals."

Central to ZIDERA is compensation for white farmers who lost land under the reform programme who appealed to the SADC tribunal and won their case.

The amended ZIDERA reads in part: "It is the sense of Congress that the government of Zimbabwe.. should enforce the SADC tribunal rulings from 2007 to 2010, including 18 disputes involving employment, commercial, and human rights cases surrounding dispossessed Zimbabwean commercial farmers and agricultural companies."

Nichols said Mnangagwa has to ensure that the democratic space in the country is opened, alluding to a ZIDERA demand that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission be replaced by a new commission chosen by all parties in Parliament and that the military play no role in election campaigns among other demands.

The US denies that it imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, preferring to call them targeted measures affecting only 141 individuals and organisations, including Mnangagwa and Mugabe.

Mnangagwa has called for the lifting of the sanctions, which are also targeted at officials from the Zanu-PF ruling party, top military figures and some government-owned firms.

The European Union lifted most of its sanctions in 2014, but has maintained those against Mugabe and his wife Grace.

"There are no economic sanctions on Zimbabwe as a nation, but there are targeted US Department of Treasury sanctions against 141 individuals and organisations," he said.

"The democratic space is of great interest to us and we can provide direct support to the government of Zimbabwe to strengthen its democracy, but it depends on the willingness of the current government and particular parliamentarians."

The US is active in Zimbabwe and has dispatched a team of health experts to Zimbabwe to help combat the cholera outbreak which has so far claimed 45 lives.

"We have a team who are in country from Atlanta to help with the cholera outbreak," Nichols said.

"We have a big HIV programme and we are working with a number of civil society partners and the Ministry of Health to ensure we meet the 90-90-90 goal."

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was open to engaging US so that relations between the two governments can improve.

US is a key funder of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and while the restrictions remain in place, economic revival of Zimbabwe remains difficult, analysts have said.