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Mnangagwa Fires State Security Minister Owen Ncube Over Zanu PF Election Scuffles

FILE: Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses ruling ZANU-PF party supporters in Zvimba, Robert Mugabe’s rural home, about 100 km southwest of Harare, Nov. 24, 2018. (C. Mavhunga/VOA)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday fired State Security Minister Owen Mudha Ncube, who was placed under targeted sanctions last March by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for alleged human rights abuses.

In a statement, Misheck Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, said Mnangagwa removed Ncube “with immediate effect for conduct inappropriate for a minister of government.”

Sibanda did not disclose the reasons for Ncube’s removal from office.

Indications are that he allegedly intimidated people attending a Zanu PF provincial meeting to confirm winners of provincial party elections conducted two weeks ago.

He was unreachable for comment as his phone was switched off. Ncube was allegedly linked to a violent mob known in the Midlands province as Al Shabaab before his appointment as Minister of State.

OFAC last year removed former Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde and three other people from the targeted sanctions list and imposed the restrictive measures on former special forces commander, Anselem Sanyatwe, and Ncube.

On Sanyatwe and Ncube, the U.S. State Department said they were linked to human rights abuses related to political repression in Zimbabwe.

OFAC designated Sanyatwe and Ncube pursuant to Executive Order 13469, which reinforces the Department of State’s previous designations in 2019 under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act.

As a result of this action, all assets, property, and interests of property of Sanyatwe and Ncube “that are, or come within, U.S. jurisdiction, or the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”

OFAC’s actions are independent from the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA), which requires the United States to vote against new lending or debt relief for Zimbabwe from international financial institutions, except for lending intended to support basic human needs or good governance.

The United States imposed targeted sanctions on some Zanu PF officials over claims of human rights abuses and election-rigging.

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