The US imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe’s state security minister and its ambassador to Tanzania, the Treasury Department said, accusing them of human rights abuses, including directing an attack on peaceful protesters.
Owen Ncube, Zimbabwe’s state security minister, was blacklisted for accusations he ordered security services to abduct and mistreat members of an opposition group, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The Department said it imposed sanctions on Anselem Sanyatwe, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, accusing him of directing security forces to attack protesters during demonstrations after the 2018 elections, when he was commander of the National Army Presidential Guard Brigade.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement urged Zimbabwe’s government “to immediately end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe and to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and abuse.”
Six protesters and bystanders died and dozens were injured in 2018 in violence following delays in announcing results that made Emmerson Mnangagwa the first elected head of state since Robert Mugabe’s removal from power.
“Political and military leaders in Zimbabwe repeatedly used violence to silence political dissent and peaceful protests,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich said.
The sanctions freeze US-held assets of the officials and prohibit Americans doing business with them.
Ncube and Sanyatwe were barred from entering the United States in 2019 by the State Department.