The United States has today slapped sanctions on former Presidential Guard commander Anselem Sanyatwe and his wife Chido Machona.
Sanyatwe, who is Zimbabwe’s ambassador designate to Tanzania, was designated because of “his involvement in gross violations of human rights”.
Today marked the anniversary of last year’s post elections violence in which the military killed six people following violent protests that were organised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to protest the delay in announcing the results of the presidential elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had, by law, up to 4 August to announce the results.
The MDC refused to accept the result after its leader Nelson Chamisa was beaten by Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Chamisa continues to dispute the result though he lost the case at the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court.
The United States State Department today said it “has credible information that Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe was involved in the violent crackdown against unarmed Zimbabweans during post-election protests on August 1, 2018 that resulted in six civilian deaths.
“The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and immediate family members. In addition to the designation of Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe, the Department is also publicly designating his spouse, Chido Machona.
“To date, the government of Zimbabwe has held no member of the security forces accountable for the acts of violence committed against Zimbabweans on August 1, 2018. Furthermore, there has been no accountability for the excessive use of force by Zimbabwean security forces on civilians in January and February this year, which reportedly resulted in at least 13 deaths, 600 victims of violence, torture or rape, and more than 1 000 arrests,” the Department said in a press release.
It called on Zimbabwean authorities to hold accountable those officials responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Zimbabwe.
There are already more than 140 individuals and entities on the US sanctions list which were renewed in March by another year.
Zimbabwe says the sanctions are illegal and have cost the country billions of dollars.