U.S. President Barack Obama has extended by one year travel and financial sanctions aimed at Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, citing attempts by some officials of his ZANU-PF party to undermine the Harare unity government.
Former President George Bush put sanctions in place in 2003 after the ZANU-PF dominated government was accused of undermining democracy in the disputed presidential election of 2002. They were expanded in 2008 to include family members of designated individuals, and their supporters.
Mr. Obama said in a statement that “the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions has not been resolved.”
He noted that the European Union has similarly extended targeted sanctions.
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma was on a visit to the United Kingdom during which he is expected to ask Britain to lobby for the European Union to lift its targeted sanctions, arguing that they are undermining the Harare government.
Newly appointed ZANU-PF Spokesman Rugare Gumbo condemned Washington, charging that the Obama administration was trying to derail the inclusive government in Harare.
Africa Action Campaigns Director Briggs Bomba said Mr. Obama should update laws put in place during the prior administration so as to focus sanctions on those who continue to violate human rights and attempt to destabilize the power-sharing government.