Zimbabwe: Opposition Party Condemns Western Sanctions on Top Officials

Douglas Mwonzora. Image Source: Courtesy

HARARE, Zimbabwe— The Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) party’s Douglas Mwonzora has condemned western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’s top leadership, saying they were hurting ordinary citizens on the street, among other reservations.

Last week, the UK slapped sanctions on four Zimbabwean security officials over alleged human rights abuses, in a move that will restrict their travel to Britain and freeze their assets.

The UK cited a crackdown on protests in January 2019 which killed 17, and post-election violence in 2018, as it introduced the sanctions.

The bans were introduced on the State Security Minister Owen Ncube, Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo, Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and former commander of the Presidential Guard, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania Anselem Sanyatwe with sanctions over the August 1, 2018, and January 2019 shootings of civilians by soldiers.

MDC-T spokesperson, Witness Dube in a statement on Thursday said the party’s National Standing Committee held a virtual meeting and denounced the sanctions, concluding that they were punishing innocent citizens.

“The party reiterated its position that the continued international isolation was hurting the common man and woman. It, therefore, calls for the total and equal re-engagement of Zimbabwe with the international community,” Dube said.

Dube pronounced that the party stands for the unity of all progressive forces to fight for the prosperity of the lives of Zimbabwean people. He continued that they were committed to carrying out a national dialogue, which must be unconditional, genuine, and comprehensive.

MDC-T Party’s sentiments on the sanctions have however been criticized by human rights (HR) activists who say the party’s leadership was acting as if it was unaware of the human rights violations that led the United Kingdom and the United States of America to impose targeted sanctions on Zanu-PF officials.

The HR activists said MDC-T was being mute on human rights crimes, yet quick to find their voices to influence the western countries to lift injunctions imposed on their “Zanu-PF allies.”

They added that the sanctions were necessary following disrespect on human rights, the rule of law, unlawful arrests, and detentions by the officials who are deemed responsible.

“As an organization that represents the victims of human rights violations, especially those that suffered from state violence, we are happy that there are nations that can fight for the weak and the poor. It is clear that there has been no policy shift by the regime in upholding human rights and constitutionalism.” Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo said.

“What the MDC-T is doing is treachery, well it is not surprising because we have those who want to be part of the government even when they have no mandate to represent the voters. They want to appease (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa to consider them in government.”

According to Human rights activist, Effie Ncube, the imposed sanctions were necessitated by human rights abuses committed and failure to respect the constitution.

“Sanctions are caused by violations and sanctions will stop when violations stop. It is a shame that it has taken sanctions to compel the Zimbabwean government to stop human rights abuses and to uphold Zimbabwean laws and respect Zimbabwean lives.” Said Ncube.