US Announces Sanctions Against Zimbabwean President's Son

The US Treasury Dept. has announced sanctions against Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr, the son of Zimbabwe’s President, along with three other Zimbabweans and two Zimbabwean companies.

US Announces Sanctions Against Zimbabwean President's Son
Image credit: Charles Dharapak/AP Photo [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • The US Treasury Dept. has announced sanctions against Emmerson Mnangagwa Jr, the son of Zimbabwe’s President, along with three other Zimbabweans and two Zimbabwean companies. The move is ostensibly down to their ties with businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei and his company Sakunda Holdings, which the US has sanctioned previously.
  • According to the US Treasury, Tagwirei has been placed on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) for using his wealth and connections to receive state contracts and hard currency – such as US dollars – from the Zimbabwean government. Tagwirei is alleged to have bribed government officials with luxury items in exchange for receiving the lucrative government contracts.
  • Pres. Mnangagwa has faced sanctions by the US since the eruption of political turmoil in Zimbabwe two decades ago. Tagwire’s wife, two of Tagwire’s business associates, Fossil Agro (a state contractor which supplies farm inputs), and Fossil Contracting (a major player in the government’s infrastructure program) were also added to the SDN List under the new measures.
  • Mnangagwa Jr’s designation came into force one day before Pres. Biden is due to meet with African leaders at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, where he is expected to be pressed to drop the sanctions against the Zimbabweans. While the US claims its sanctions are targeted, Zimbabwe says that they cause economic damage to the country.
  • “The intention has always been to cripple the Zimbabwean economy and it's not fortuitous that they have picked on suppliers of key inputs to a critical sector of our economy, namely agriculture,” George Charamba, spokesman for Zimbabwe's presidency said. Charamba argued that the US is pushing for a “compliant” Zimbabwe, while the southern African nation insists on, “an independent national policy which is not influenced by foreigners.”
  • The sanctions mean that people and other entities on the list will have any US-based assets frozen. US citizens and US companies are also banned from doing business with those currently sanctioned.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Treasury, Yahoo News, VOA, and Ofac Lawyer.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by VOA Africa. The US is bullying Zimbabwe with illegal economic measures that impact the entire country. The US may claim its sanctions are merely about targeting individuals linked to corruption, but the real motivation has always been to cripple Zimbabwe’s economy and crush its independent domestic and foreign policy, until the country’s government is forced to serve US desires and interests.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by East African. Years of corrupt and incompetent policies and mismanagement are responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic woes, not US sanctions. US sanctions target corrupt individuals and entities, and those responsible for human rights violations and undermining democracy. Although they may admittedly cause some additional economic damage, most of Zimbabwe’s problems stem from the country’s autonomous governance.