US disappointment with Zimbabwe’s government keeps growing amid a heavy-handed response to any opposition, a senior State Department official said following last week’s crackdown against protesters.
“The disappointment just keeps getting worse unfortunately,” said the official, speaking on background to reporters. “Government seems to be even more violent in their response to opposition.”
The official said Washington made clear to the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa what it would take to improve relations between Zimbabwe and the United States. US officials previously called on Mnangagwa to change laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests.
Mnangagwa’s government last week banned anti-government protests by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which accuses the authorities of political repression and mismanaging the economy. Police used teargas to disperse crowds and barred access to the MDC’s Harare offices.
Anger has mounted over triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of US dollars, fuel and bread.
In March, President Donald Trump extended by a year US sanctions against 100 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, including Mnangagwa, saying his government failed to bring about political and economic changes.