Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is facing political pressure from the West that has affected his country’s foreign policy. Earlier, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a man believed to be an ally of the Zimbabwean government who allegedly used millions of dollars. Regimond Tagwirei and his company, Sakunda Holdings, was the US target in last year.
The British government, which previously supported the Mnangagwa government, has finally imposed sanctions important security chiefs. On Monday, February 1, 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) announced the appointment of four new security chiefs for sanctions related to human rights abuses. This was the first major foreign policy move by the UK outside the EU after Brexit on 31 January and the political pressure from Western governments.
The sanctioned members were Owen Ncube, the state security Minister, Isaac Moyo,the Central Intellegence organization director general, Godwin Matanga, police Commissioner General and AnselemSanyatwe, a former Brigadier general who commanded the president guard.
Violations of freedom of expression by the Mnangagwa government since he took office included; In August 2018, when people protested the delay of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in announcing the election results in Harare. At the time, Sanyatwe’s presidential guard opened fire on civilians, killing six and wounding 35.
In January 2019, when people protested Mnangagwa’s decision to increase fuel prices by 150%, the government allowed to deploy security forces who had committed acts against freedom of expression and civil liberties. The government deployed security agents to quell the protests that left 17 people dead, according to a report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. As a result, many pro-Zimbabwean governments withdrew their support.
The UK said the sanctions were intended to encourage the government to end its repression of civil society and respect human rights. This is the only step the UK can take to stop what is happening in Zimbabwe, as the United States has already imposed economic sanctions.
The strained relations between Zimbabwe and the West have coincided with growing Chinese interest in Africa’s rapidly expanding industrial resources. Mnangagwana is currently looking for friends to replace Western governments that have strained relations. China, Africa’s largest superpower, now wants to welcome Mnangagwa.