United Kingdom sanctions security chiefs


Davison Kaiyo

HARARE – Zimbabwe security chiefs have become the first set of individuals in the new dispensation and post-Brexit to be placed under the UK’s Zimbabwe sanctions regime . Following the UK’s departure from the European Union and the end of the Transition Period, in December 2020, the UK can now pursue an independent sanctions policy reflecting our foreign policy and national security interests.

According to the statement published by the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the new sanctions include travel ban and asset freeze on four security chiefs namely Owen Ncube, Minister for State Security; Isaac Moyo, Director General of the Central Intelligence Organisation; Godwin Matanga, Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police; and Zimbabwe to Tanzania Ambassador Anselem Sanyatwe, who is the former Brigadier General, Commander of the Presidential Guard and Tactical Commander of the National Reaction Force.

Raab said: “These sanctions send a clear message that we will hold to account those responsible for the most egregious human rights violations, including the deaths of innocent Zimbabweans.

“These sanctions target senior individuals in the Government, and not ordinary Zimbabweans. We will continue to press for the necessary political and economic reforms that will benefit all Zimbabweans,” he said.

“The UK’s autonomous Zimbabwe sanctions regime seeks to encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to respect democratic principles and institutions; refrain from the repression of civil society; and to comply with international human rights law and to respect human rights,” read the statement.

The statement also said the new sanctions regime seeks to hold to account those responsible for violation of human rights since November 2017. “These targeted designations hold to account those responsible for the worst human rights violations against the people of Zimbabwe since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power in November 2017. This includes a state-sponsored crackdown against protests in January 2019 that resulted in the deaths of 17 Zimbabweans and post-election violence in August 2018 in which six protestors lost their lives.”

The UK Zimbabwe Autonomous Regime comprises targeted travel bans and asset freezes, as well as trade restrictions on military items and items that could be used for internal repression. The regime came fully into force on 31 December 2020 at the end of the EU transition period. This is the first time that the UK has used its autonomous Zimbabwe sanctions regime to impose travel bans and asset freezes against individuals.

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