The United States top Africa diplomat Tibor Nagy says there is a “very false narrative” that the United States has sanctions against Zimbabwe. It does not. The sanctions are against individuals and certain corporations.
Unfortunately Nagy, like US President Donald Trump, is the one who has a false narrative because sanctions on Zimbabwe are real and are not just travel or trade bans against the designated individuals and companies.
They affect the ordinary Zimbabwean something that the US has refused to accept and recognise as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act forbids international Financial Institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank from giving Zimbabwe financial assistance without the approval of the US president.
Nagy admitted in a question and answer session that it was “no secret, we have a problematic relationship with Zimbabwe”.
Q &A (official transcript)
QUESTION: Okay, good afternoon. My name is Muchemwa Norman from Sunday Mail in Harare, Zimbabwe. And my question is as you mentioned earlier on that you hoped for Africa and that is an encouragement for American businesses to invest in Zimbabwe. You know that Zimbabwe is open for — in Africa, rather, you know that Zimbabwe is open for business. What measures are there in place for a win/win arrangement regarding the issue of investment for the benefit of the long-suffering Zimbabweans?
ASST. SEC. TIBOR NAGY: Well I love that question too because I’ve had occasions several times to have dialog at highest levels of your government and our dialogue has been very frank and honest and I’m not going to go into details because those are private discussions. But your leadership understands what the United States is looking for, before we can begin to have a normal, constructive, positive relationship with Zimbabwe.
Now, I told you guys this before, that I have a very special place in my heart for Zimbabwe because not only did I help open up the embassy there shortly after the Lancaster House Agreement in 1980, I think my vehicle was the second one to cross the Chirundu Bridge going from Zambia to Zimbabwe. But my kids first trip was born in independent Zimbabwe were born in Harare.
So I really, really appreciate the country. I appreciate the tremendous talents, the positive attributes. Unfortunately it’s no secret, we have a problematic relationship with Zimbabwe. There’s the ZIDERA Act which restricts to a certain extent what the United States can and cannot do.
However, there’s a very false narrative out there which I want to correct. Some people say that the United States has sanctions against the country of Zimbabwe. We do not, repeat, do not have sanctions against the country of Zimbabwe. We have sanctions against certain individuals and certain corporations and there could be greater detail on that, but not against the country of Zimbabwe. There is nothing to stop U.S. businesses from investing in Zimbabwe, from going to Zimbabwe.
However, again, let’s be very frank. Zimbabwe has a reputational problem. We have great concerns over how the government treats its own citizens. We have great concerns over the space that’s available for democracy and governance in Zimbabwe. We have been alarmed with how the government has treated its own citizens. So those are the issues. But as I said, we’ve had very frank, honest and open discussions between ourselves and the highest levels of your government. So you know, hopefully, again, you know my dream and prayer is that we can have fully normalized positive relations with every country in Africa. And Zimbabwe is near the top of my wish list.
Again, given the personal connections I’ve had with your beautiful, beautiful country and your wonderful people. Over.