One of the biggest follies of colonialism was that an African, or black person, could never be an adult- someone who could think for him or herself. A married man with children, or even grandchildren, was called, and treated like, a boy.
This seems to be the stance two United States Senator Jim Risch and Chris Coons have taken. They written to United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to update the list of sanctioned Zimbabweans.
They say President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government “has implemented a misinformation campaign blaming the country’s woes on targeted sanctions programs implemented by the United States” yet “the United States has been the top provider of humanitarian and development aid to meet the needs of Zimbabwe’s people”.
“It is important that the United States communicate to the people of Zimbabwe that our sanctions programs are aimed at deterring human rights abuses, public corruption, the undermining of democratic processes or institutions, and political repression in Zimbabwe. They are not aimed at the Zimbabwean people,” the senators wrote.
If US sanctions are indeed aimed at deterring corruption, human rights abuses and political repression, then they have failed dismally.
Take corruption, which is measurable, for example. In 1998, the first public record that included Zimbabwe which the Insider was able to access, Zimbabwe was placed 43 out of the 85 countries surveyed by Transparency International. It scored 42 points out of 100 in the Corruption Perception Index.
In 2000 when the United States proposed sanctions on the country, it had dropped to 30 points. It was down to 23 points when the United States sanctions came into effect.
Zimbabwe did not improve its position despite the sanctions and in fact plunged to 20 points in 2012, three years after the formation of the inclusive government where the opposition held key posts like that of Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Public Service Minister just to name a few.
Zimbabwe moved two notches up under former President Robert Mugabe and stood at 22 points when he was ousted in 2017.
Mnangagwa has moved the country two points up to 24 last year.
Issues of human rights abuses, political repression and democratic processes are debatable.
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