BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

GOVERNMENT yesterday reacted angrily to the decision by the United States government to slap businessman and President Emmerson Mnangagwa ally’s Kudakwashe Tagwirei with sanctions, claiming the move was timed to disrupt energy supplies into the country.

Tagwirei was slapped with sanctions for corruption and propping up government which is accused of gross human rights violations.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said US sanctions against Sakunda Holdings and its owner, Tagwirei were clearly intended to disrupt energy supply into Zimbabwe.

“US sanctions against Sakunda and its owner are clearly intended to disrupt energy supply into and throughout Zimbabwe,” Charamba said.

“The US government has done what previous US administrations could not do to the illegal Ian Smith regime under UN sanctions. Therein lies the racist side of the US government, its cause has always been racial throughout history.”

Charamba said the United States government’s intention was to incite the business sector against government while rewarding sections of the banking sector directly related to activities of US companies inside Zimbabwe.

“The US government will not contemplate sanctioning its John Deere or its business associates here, whether by way of local representatives or banking institutions.

“Meanwhile, US tractors exported to Zimbabwe will require fuel to till the very land which triggered US sanctions in the first place.”

The Foreign Affairs ministry yesterday said it hoped the US would realise the futility of imposing sanctions against Harare.

“Zimbabwe hopes the US will realise the futility of its sanctions policy in nurturing relations. Zimbabwe seeks friendship and cooperation with all, hence will continue to engage the US,” the ministry said in a tweet.

US Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, and Chris Coons (D-Del), member of the subcommittee on Africa and global health policy, have commended actions by the US department of the Treasury under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme, saying this would combat corruption by Zimbabwe’s elites.

“Today’s action by the Department of the Treasury to hold accountable those who perpetrate public corruption, particularly among Zimbabwe’s ruling elite, is commendable and reflects steadfast US commitment to supporting Zimbabweans as they seek to rid their country of corruption,” the senators said.

“We are pleased to see the Departments of Treasury and State continue to act on our request from January to update the specially designated nationals and blocked persons list (SDN list) under the Zimbabwe sanctions programme, and to consider our suggestions.”

The US senators also condemned the government crackdown against opposition members, journalists and citizens who exposed public corruption.

“We condemn the ongoing government crackdown against opposition figures, journalists, and citizens who speak out against public corruption and who seek greater accountability from their government,” the senators said.

They further said Tagwirei’s alleged corrupt activities undermined the country’s economic and democratic development as means of self-enrichment.

In January this year, the US government added the August 1, 2018 massacre army commander Anselem Sanyatwe and State Security minister Owen Ncube to the sanctions list after a request by senators Risch and Coons.

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