Washington, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement regarding efforts of the government of Zimbabwe to spread misinformation and deflect blame for the dire economic conditions faced by the country:
"Responsibility for the current political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe falls solely on the ruling regime that has governed the country for decades. If Zimbabwe's leaders put as much time, financial resources, and effort into delivering on their long-promised reforms as they have in distorting facts and organizing "anti-sanctions" campaigns, Zimbabweans would not continue to suffer under the dire economic and humanitarian conditions they face today. The US does not sanction people without just cause – sanctions are a response to malign activity.
"The U.S is an enduring partner and friend to the Zimbabwean people, which is reflected in our decades-long support to the country's humanitarian and development needs. Zimbabwe's leaders, starting with President Mnangagwa, continue to have a clear path towards strengthening the U.S.-Zimbabwe bilateral relationship through reforms outlined in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. The ruling party should focus on the needs of the Zimbabwean people instead of their bad governance, corruption, and state capture. Regional institutions should also focus their energies on supporting democracy, not kleptocratic regimes."
Background: In 2003, the United States began to impose sanctions on select individuals in the ZANU-PF regime and entities known to facilitate human rights abuses, undermine the rule of law, and engage in the looting of state resources for personal or political gain. While the targeted sanctions have been in place, the U.S. has continued to invest in humanitarian and development aid for Zimbabwe, spending more than $2 billion over the last 10 years. The government of Zimbabwe has used misinformation to blame U.S. sanctions for the country's political, economic and humanitarian situation and has coordinated anti-sanctions protests across the country for Oct. 25.