Zimbabwe: Matsanga Petitions British Govt to Engage Not Isolate Zimbabwe

25 February 2021

Nairobi — Pan African Forum has petitioned the United Kingdom to engage Zimbabwe as opposed to imposing sanctions against officials over rights violations and other alleged atrocities.

The forum's Chairman David Matsanga said imposing sanctions on the country's top officials will only serve to worsen the situation and prolong the period of resolving the matter.

"We request that United Kingdom engages Zimbabwe government to find ways of containing the current situation instead of sanctions that only harden positions," Matsanga said in a letter to Dominic Raab, UK's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth.

The letter followed UK's sanctions against Zimbabwe's State Security Minister Owen Ncube, Central Intelligence Director Isaac Moyo, Police chief Godwin Matanga and former Commander of the Presidential Guard (Zimbabwe's Tactical Reactionary Force) Lt (Rtd) General Anslem Sanyatwe who is the current Ambassador to Tanzania.

In his letter dated February 23, Matsanga said the sanctions are inconsequential and will not, in any way, affect the targetted officials.

"The targetted officials do not have any assets in the United Kingdom or have a history of traveling there," he said.

The sanctions were issued following government action on citizens when suppressing riots, including on August 1, 2018 when several people were killed or injured when security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrations.

"As it happens in such chaos, some people were shot. However, it is important to note that the action by security apparatus were duly absolved by the Montlante Commission," he said.

The findings of the Commission condemned the killing of ordinary citizens which came as a result of unjustified demonstrations.

The Commission did not document any evidence that the killings of civilians was conducted by the army.

The sanctions were also as a result of the January 14, 2019 riots and demonstrations against the Zimbabwean government.

"The British Minister blamed security forces, though with no sufficient proof of the 17 people he reports to have been killed," Matsanga said.

While calling for engagement and not isolation, Matsanga said the UK action against Zimbabwe will only serve to further deterioration of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

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