Washington, (New Ziana) – The United States government on Thursday extended by a year, sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe in 2003, accusing the country of posing a threat to its foreign policy interests.
But the government accused Washington of imposing the sanctions as punishment over the country’s land reforms under which farmland was compulsorily acquired from white farmers, who owned the bulk of fertile land, to resettle landless blacks.
Among other things, the US accused Zimbabwe of undermining democracy and the rule of law in justifying the imposition of the sanctions.
In the latest renewal of the penalties, the US reiterated its accusations, saying this had led to a “deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, to politically motivated violence and intimidation in that country, and to political and economic instability in the southern African region.”
With the recent election of President Joe Bidden, Zimbabwe had hoped to open a new chapter in its relations with the US.
But Bidden, in a letter to Congress, said: “The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.”
He continued: “For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2003, and the measures adopted on that date, on November 22, 2005, and on July 25, 2008, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2021. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288.”
Apart from from trying to maintain white economic power through land ownership, the US and other Western powers also feared that Zimbabwe’s agrarian reforms could influence other countries such as South Africa where farmland ownership was still skewed in favour of whites, to copy.
Britain, whose kith and kin were the most affected by Zimbabwe’s land reforms, co-opted the entire Western world, including the US, to impose the sanctions which Zimbabwe estimates has cost it over US$100 billion over the two decades.
The European Union also extended its sanctions on Zimbabwe two weeks ago, but has been gradually easing these.