The United States of America’s chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Risch (R-Idaho), said that Zimbabwe is now in a worse situation than it was before the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
In a statement marking the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of 6 civilians by soldiers in central Harare on August 1 2018, Sen. Risch advised President Emmerson Mnangagwa not to moan about targeted sanctions but instead focus on delivering the ZANU-PF government’s long-promised reforms. He said:
As Zimbabweans mark this sombre anniversary, we are reminded of all that can go wrong when regime preservation comes ahead of real democratic change.
Zimbabwe is facing a worse political and economic crisis today than in 2017 when long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was forced from power by the country’s military.
Today, citizens are suffering under staggering inflation, regular fuel and water shortages, rolling blackouts, a failing currency, and an increasingly repressive political environment.
President Mnangagwa’s efforts to cleanse his government’s image abroad and to convince the Zimbabwean people that their economic woes are the fault of very targeted U.S. sanctions are the wrong priorities.
These sanctions are on individuals who violated the rule of law and caused this political and economic chaos. President Mnangagwa should instead focus on delivering the ZANU-PF government’s long-promised reforms.
He should also uphold his commitment to hold to account those in the military leadership responsible for ordering the shooting of unarmed civilians last August, and since then.