LONDON — The United Kingdom beat four sanctioned Zimbabwe’s guards and security officers this week, as the European nation continues its fight with the struggling South African country.
Secretary of State for Security Owen Ncube, Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga, Central Intelligence Organization chief Isaac Moyo and former Presidential Guard commander Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe are the latest government officials to fall foul of the punitive embargoes.
The Quartet “is responsible for the worst human rights abuses against the people of Zimbabwe since President Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017”, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
“These sanctions send a clear message that we will hold accountable those responsible for the most gross human rights abuses, including the deaths of innocent Zimbabweans,” the statement said.
“These sanctions target senior government officials and not ordinary Zimbabweans. We will continue to press for the necessary political and economic reforms that will benefit all Zimbabweans.
After leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom can now pursue an independent sanctions policy that reflects its foreign policy and national security interests.
The latest designations are the first made by the UK of individuals under its stand-alone sanctions regime for Zimbabwe, which came into force at 11 p.m. on December 31, 2020.
Sanyatwe, 65, who is now Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, is “responsible for the commission of gross human rights abuses by National Response Force soldiers involved in the crackdown on an opposition protest on August 1, 2018, which was assigned to his tactical role as commander.” of this force resulted in the deaths of six people at the time of the incident,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement accompanying his appointment.
“As such, it has undermined the rule of law in Zimbabwe,” he said. Ncube, 53, “bears responsibility for gross human rights abuses, including systematic torture, committed by security forces in the crackdown on protests in January 2019 due to his position as Minister of State for National Security at the relevant time”.
“There is also reason to believe that in ordering Econet to shut down all internet services in January 2019, which the High Court later ruled unlawful, Owen Ncube was also involved in other acts which undermined the ‘rule of law in Zimbabwe’, the Foreign Ministry said.
The UK says Matanga, 59, is ‘responsible for serious human rights abuses committed by police and military during the crackdown on post-election protests in August 2018 which claimed the lives of six civilians’ .
Moyo “has been responsible for acts which constitute gross violations of human rights” and “has also been implicated in other acts which undermine the rule of law in Zimbabwe”.
An entity, Zimbabwe Defense Industries, has also been designated, effectively banning British companies from selling weapons in Zimbabwe.
The Motlanthe Commission report found that Zimbabwe’s security services were responsible for six deaths and 35 gunshot wounds during protests on August 1, 2018.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission’s January 28, 2019 report on the response to the January 2019 fuel protests found that law enforcement officials “appeared to use brutal, excessive and disproportionate force in most circumstances, causing preventable deaths and also making the situation worse.” , causing the death of 17 people.
A Human Rights Watch report details allegations of rape and indiscriminate door-to-door raids by Zimbabwean security services.
Monday’s announcement ensures the four officials cannot travel freely within the UK, funnel money through UK banks or do business with UK companies.
Zimbabwe’s government often invokes targeted sanctions to claim a plot by Western countries, led by former colonial power Britain, to undermine its economy.
Foreign Minister Raab said: “Contrary to claims by those trying to halt institutional reform and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe, these sanctions will not discourage investment in the country.
“Instead, British investors repeatedly point to three issues that prevent them from investing in Zimbabwe: a poorly managed currency; arbitrary property rights and the legal system.
“The stand-alone British sanctions regime for Zimbabwe seeks to encourage the Zimbabwean government to respect democratic principles and institutions; refrain from repressing civil society; and to comply with international human rights law and respect human rights.
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