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United Nations Special Envoy in Zimbabwe Assessing Impact of Sanctions Imposed on Zanu PF Officials

President Emmerson Mnangagwa held a meeting in Harare on Monday with UN Special Envoy, Elana Douhan. (Photo: Emmerson Mnangagwa/Twitter )
President Emmerson Mnangagwa held a meeting in Harare on Monday with UN Special Envoy, Elana Douhan. (Photo: Emmerson Mnangagwa/Twitter )

A United Nations special envoy, Alena Douhan, who is currently visiting Zimbabwe to assess the impact of targeted sanctions imposed on Zanu PF officials, held her first meeting in Harare today with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, amid an appeal by the government for the scrapping of the restrictive measures.

Douhan, a U.N. Special Rapporteur on Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights and professor of international law, is also expected to hold a series of meetings with leaders of opposition parties, churches and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders.

In a tweet, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, “It was a pleasure to welcome Alena Douhan, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, to Zimbabwe. Her 10-day trip aims to assess the impact of punitive economic sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans. These sanctions are illegal and hurt the most vulnerable in our society.”

In a similar tweet, Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana, noted that “there is no question on the deleterious impact of Sanctions on this country. Let’s all speak with one voice on #ZimSanctionsMustGo.

“Sanctions know no colour or party that one belongs to, hence it is incumbent upon all Zimbabweans to speak with one voice and call for the immediate removal of the sanctions."

In a note on her Twitter page before leaving for Zimbabwe, Douhan wrote that she will be in Zimbabwe for a couple of days.

“Country visit of the SR on unilateral coercive measures to Zimbabwe is planned to 18-28.10.2021. I invite all interlocutors to provide relevant submissions.”

Some Zimbabweans, who have been closely following her visit, reacted to Mnangagwa’s tweet with some calling for the removal of the targeted sanctions while other believe that the ruling party is to blame for the restrictive measures.

One of them identified as Nicole Hondo said, “… We hope Ms Douhan will see first hand how illegal sanctions by USA, Britain and European Union have held back the Zimbabwe economy from its full potential and hurt ordinary citizens.”

But Arthur Zirabada reminded Zanu PF about what it used to do during the liberation struggle.

He said, “Do you know that in 1978, ZANU sent Zvobgo to the United Nations to advocate for more Sanctions & travel bans against Smith’s regime? ZANU also urged UN to condemn rigged elections.”

Takudzwa Mahuni added that “Zanu-PF is hurting Zimbabwe more than sanctions.”

But Tanaka says Zimbabweans should address their own problems without any foreign intervention.

“It's sad that human rights are an issue we need to have interventions on. We should learn to be progressive enough to upgrade and update our own conduct without the need of foreign delegations whose own nations often have poor human rights records. You must improve Mr President.”

Farai Makomo, who is fuming about the current situation in Zimbabwe, said,

The United States, Britain and other nations imposed targeted sanctions on Zanu PF officials and some companies following claims of election rigging and human rights abuses.

U.S. targeted sanctions apply to only 86 Zimbabwean individuals and 56 entities (mostly farms and legal entities owned by the 87 individuals) as of February 2020.

The Zimbabwe sanctions program implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) began on March 7, 2003, when then President George Bush issued an Executive Order imposing sanctions against specifically identified individuals and entities in Zimbabwe. Former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump also maintained the sanctions regime.