Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
The imposition of sanctions on Sakunda Holdings and its chief executive, Mr Kuda Tagwirei, by the United States yesterday is wrong and devoid of logic, but will not affect the ongoing re-engagement drive aimed at restoring good relations between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said last night.
The United States slapped sanctions on Sakunda Holdings and Mr Tagwirei accusing him of using “opaque business dealings and his ongoing relationship with President Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of US dollars”.
The US Deputy Treasury Secretary, Mr Justin Muzinich, claimed Mr Tagwirei and other “Zimbabwean elites have derailed economic development and harmed citizen through corruption”.
“The United States supports the economic well-being of the Zimbabwean people and will target repressive and corrupt acts and graft by Zimbabwean politicians and their financiers,” he said.
But Mr Mangwana said Zimbabwe does not believe in the use of sanctions against other countries.
“We don’t believe any Zimbabwean or any of its entities should be placed on any unilateral sanctions by any country. It’s wrong. It’s based on baseless social media chatter and devoid of logic,” he said.
“It (imposition of sanctions) has no bearing for the re-engagement is the availability of avenues for conversation between parties. While the removal of sanctions is a deliverable of the Re-engagement Policy, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of the policy.
“Investment, trade, tourism and other partnerships are also very important and we have seen positive movements in those contexts.”
It is understood that the US slapped sanctions on Mr Tagwirei and his business acting on recommendations by some opposition parties and NGOs, which are unhappy that their July 31 demonstration flopped despite the huge investments made by the US.
The US sanctions are now on 83 individuals and 37 companies in Zimbabwe, a development that has seen the companies struggling to access cheaply priced loans, raw materials and spare parts, and considerably scaling down operations resulting in job losses.
Pan-African Chamber of Commerce board member, Mr Langton Mabhanga, told The Herald last night that the latest US sanctions suggest that Zimbabwe is trying to re-engage a country that does not respect it.
“I think it is high time we go where we are respected, where we are treated fairly. There many countries that respect us, that can treat us fairly and we need to engage such,” he said.
The US Embassy in Harare said its sanctions regime were not designed to hurt Zimbabweans, but citizens who responded on the embassy’s Twitter handle criticised the sanctions.