What Britain’s House of Lords said about latest US sanctions on Zimbabwe


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The British House of Lords yesterday spent 11 minutes discussing sanctions on Zimbabwe with some peers calling for the tightening of these sanctions against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration.

Some even suggested that Zimbabwe should not be allowed to rejoin the Commonwealth.

The debate followed the lifting of sanctions on most individuals and companies by the United States on Monday.

The US, however,introduced stiffer sanctions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, businessman Kudakwashe Tagwireyi and eight others as well as three firms both linked to Tagwireyi.

Below is the full debate:

Lord Bellingham:To ask His Majesty’s Government whether they plan to revise the Zimbabwe sanctions regime in the light of the recent announcement by the government of the United States that it will adjust and tighten its sanctions.

The Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 

(Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon):My Lords, our Zimbabwe sanctions hold to account four individuals and one entity responsible for serious human rights abuses. They do not target the people or economy of Zimbabwe. We note the US’s recent steps and continue to engage closely with our US partners. We continue to keep all sanctions, designations and regimes under review and do not comment on any future sanctions plans.

Lord Bellingham:My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. He will be aware that the war in Ukraine and recent events in Gaza have taken the world’s attention away from some of the various crises in Africa, including the dreadful situation in Zimbabwe. Indeed, having stolen last year’s election, Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF have harassed, threatened and imprisoned opposition figures, including the very brave Job Sikhala, closed down civil society, and undermined the rule of law. Obviously, there is no appetite in this House for economic sanctions, which would really bear down on the people of Zimbabwe, but surely we should now look at tighter and wider smart sanctions, targeted at the ZANU-PF Cabinet, their wives and their cronies. Surely the people of Zimbabwe, which was originally a net exporter of food, deserve better and a brighter future. Would the Minister agree?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: My Lords, my noble friend is right. We have been deeply seized by and concerned about the targeting of civil liberties. We engaged with the Government on the PVO amendment Bill before the 2023 elections, and we have seen the so-called patriot Bill, which has limited freedom of expression. My noble friend will also be aware that the introduction of the global human rights sanctions regime in 2019 allows us to do exactly that: we can specifically target the people who commit egregious abuses of human rights rather than citizens or, indeed, a country.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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