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US-Africa summit invites Zimbabwe in from the cold – Newsday

Joe Biden and Emmerson Mnangagwa

The Joe Biden administration will use its upcoming Africa summit to try to chart a new path forward with Zimbabwe after almost two decades of sanctions against the late President Robert Mugabe and his successor.

The US government sent out formal invitations for its 13 – 15 December US-Africa Leaders Summit this past week. Only governments that don’t have diplomatic relations with the US (Eritrea, Western Sahara) or have been suspended by the African Union (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan) weren’t invited.

In a marked departure from President Barack Obama’s original 2014 summit, the Biden team asked the government of Zimbabwe to join as the US presses President Emmerson Mnangagwa to abandon the authoritarian ways of his predecessor. The invitation however went to Foreign Minister Frederick Shava, as Mnangagwa remains under US sanctions, accused of undermining democratic processes in the country.

Biden’s goal, a National Security Council spokesperson says, is to host a “broadly inclusive summit.”

“There are countries across the continent [which] […] struggle and are challenged on the democracy and governance side,” Dana Banks, the White House point person for the summit, tells The Africa Report. “But it’s important to have those conversations, right? You have to be able to talk about your concerns … That is the mature engagement that we are seeking with our African partners.”

Zimbabwe’s government welcomed the invitation as a chance to repair ties with Washington.

“We are in continuous re-engagement with the United States and any other Western country,” Livit Mugejo, a spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs and international trade, tells The Africa Report. “Hence, the invitation for the minister to attend the [US-Africa] summit provides another opportunity for the government to continue with its re-engagement efforts.”

Some Zimbabwe critics in Congress however aren’t pleased.

“The admin should … carefully consider who is invited to the US-Africa Summit,” the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Risch of Idaho, said on Twitter on 15 September. “If the admin insists it must invite a gov’t representative from Zimbabwe, it should look for someone who has a less abysmal human rights, corruption, and democracy record than the foreign minister.”

Confidence buildingAhead of the summit, the US Treasury Department lifted sanctions last week on 11 Zimbabwean officials while adding deputy police commissioner for administration Stephen Mutamba for his alleged role in “undermining Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions”.

“Over the past two years, Mutamba has organised a host of actions that threaten and undermine legitimate political parties and others who oppose the policies of the Government of Zimbabwe or the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front [ZANU-PF] party,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. ”It is vital that the Government of Zimbabwe allow full participation across the political spectrum.”

Risch suggested the timing of the sanctions removal was meant to placate South Africa, stating on Twitter that it was “no coincidence” that the Treasury Department updated its sanctions list on the eve of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 16 September visit to the White House.

“While adding Stephen Mutamba is good, many key officials responsible for undermining Zim[babwe]’s democracy remain missing,” Risch said on Twitter. “Biden should use his meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa to urge the gov[ernment] of South Africa to end its blatant misinformation about US sanctions and use its regional leadership to support democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.”

South Africa has been lobbying for Zimbabwe to be invited to the summit, according to congressional sources. During their meeting, Ramaphosa also reportedly pressed Biden to lift sanctions.

“Meeting with President Biden, President Ramaphosa raised the issue of sanctions on Zimbabwe,” Peter Ndoro, a journalist with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), said on Twitter. “He explained to President Biden that Zimbabwe sanctions affect other countries in the region as economic migrants are forced to leave Zimbabwe in their droves to seek economic opportunities.”

Washington has long countered that Zimbabwe’s corruption, not sanctions, is the root cause of the country’s dismal economic record.

Price however described the update as a regular periodical review and said the 11 delisted individuals “are either deceased or have been deemed to no longer undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions”. They include the late generals Perrance Shiri and Paradzai Zimondi, who helped topple Mugabe in 2017, and five former members of Mugabe’s cabinet.

“It is imperative that ZANU-PF allow full participation across the political spectrum in next year’s elections,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. “The United States continues to stand with the Zimbabwean people against unjust actions against political opponents or assaults on Zimbabwe’s democracy by the ZANU-PF.”

US under fire

The US and other Western powers have long been under pressure from Southern African nations to amend their policy toward Harare.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has repeatedly called for the removal of international sanctions on Zimbabwe, arguing that they harm the country’s economy and that of the entire region. The 16-member group has declared 25 October as ‘Anti-Sanctions Day’ in solidarity with Harare.

“We welcome [President Biden] and the US government’s fresh look at sanctions on Zimbabwe,” Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said on Twitter. “We greatly appreciate the White House having a listening ear to the SADC region.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights, Alena Douhan, likewise denounced the humanitarian impact of the decades-old sanctions after visiting Zimbabwe last year. The sanctions were first imposed in 2003 under President George W. Bush after the Mugabe regime seized white-owned land and locked up the opposition.

Now the ball is in Zimbabwe’s court, the US says, with either a new era or fresh sanctions looming depending on Mnangagwa’s next steps.

“The United States continues to stand with the Zimbabwean people against corruption, human rights abuses, and efforts to undermine democratic processes or institutions,” Price said. “We will not hesitate to designate those who undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions or otherwise fall within the scope of our sanctions program.”
























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Nationwide electricity supply disruption brings business to a halt – New

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By Reason Razao

ZIMBABWE experienced a brief nationwide blackout Tuesday as power outages continue to rock the country.

Most traffic lights in and around the Central Business District (CBD) of Harare were not functioning as a result of the power cut.

Ear-splitting noise emanating from generators could be heard across the CBD as most traders staggered to keep their operations running.

The level of incessant power cuts even delayed court proceedings at the Harare Magistrates Court, where virtual cases were halted.

Despite network challenges emanating from the black out, Twitter was abuzz with Twimbos giving updates from different locations.

“As usual Kudzi is off the mark…. The whole nation was plunged into darkness from 10:20 to 11:30 .. including mines which don’t suffer from loadshedding,” twitted one Nickson Mhofu.

“Zimboz on the ground, do you have electricity in your town right now? My fellows in H-Town are telling me kuti tonaz magetsi dololo?,” wrote another user on Twitter.

Prior to earlier claims by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) that power outages were being caused by increased economic activities, the power utility group last week issued a statement saying the intensified load shedding was a result of technical challenges in Kariba and Hwange.

“ZETDC would like to advise it’s valued customers that there is increased load curtailment from the 24th of September 2022.

“This is due to technical challenges being experienced at our Kariba and Hwange Power Stations as well as import constraints.

“The utility is therefore conducting a maintenance exercise to ensure full restoration of service,” read the statement.

Complaints have, however, been raised on the need for ZETDC to release a load shedding timetable.

Latest data from the Zimbabwe Power Company shows that the country is generating just 1 029 MW today against peak demand in excess of 1 700 MW.

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WATCH: Sanctions not fit for purpose: African presidents – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
ILLEGAL sanctions imposed by the West on Zimbabwe violate the country’s sovereignty and are a barrier to national development and crime against humanity.

African leaders said this as they called for the immediate removal of the illegal embargo imposed on Zimbabwe by the West after the country embarked on the land reform programme to correct colonial imbalances.

Presidents from the African continent said the illegal sanctions have caused untold suffering.
The United States promulgated the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) claiming that Zimbabwe is a threat to its foreign policy.

Since then the country has experienced serious economic challenges, affecting industry and commerce resulting in people losing their source of livelihoods leading to forced migration.

While Government has reaffirmed that the land reform programme is irreversible, the West has retained its coercive measures in a bid to cow Zimbabwe into submission.

Pressure is mounting for the removal of the sanctions, with African leaders who attended the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last week condemning the embargo which suffocates Zimbabwe.

President Macky Sall

The continent was led by the African Union (AU) chairperson and Senegalese president Macky Sall, in calling for the removal of the illegal sanctions.

“The AU once again calls for the lifting of foreign sanctions against Zimbabwe. These harsh measures continue to fuel a sense of injustice against an entire people and to aggravate their suffering in these times of deep crisis,” said President Sall.

His sentiment was echoed by Sadc chairperson and Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi, who said the United Nations should make an effort to ensure the embargo imposed on Zimbabwe is removed unconditionally.

President Tshisekedi said the sanctions are an injustice and constitute a crime against Zimbabweans.
“In the name of international solidarity and justice, we do have questions over the maintenance of sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe.

These sanctions which, what’s more, date back to the era of the late President Mugabe. Why is our organisation so silent and so indifferent to this injustice, almost a crime against innocent people? As a current chair of Sadc, I firmly call upon the United Nations to do everything possible to achieve the immediate lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe,” said President Tshisekedi.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said while Zimbabweans are resilient, sanctions have become a hindrance in the country realising its full potential.

President Felix Tshisekedi

“While we are confident of the resilience and resolve of Zimbabwe as well as its economic transformation prospects, we are concerned that such measures are not advancing the cause of livelihoods of innocent Zimbabweans nor the calls for our Sustainable Development Goals,” said President Masisi.

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob said President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic has made laudable reforms hence the illegal sanctions are not fit for purpose. He said Zimbabwe can do better without sanctions imposed on the country.

“Equally, we call for the lifting of sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe. Why are sanctions in place for a country which is making progress at all levels? President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe have made laudable progress and reforms and should be given a chance to succeed without the weight of sanctions,” he said.

South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, reiterated the calls for the removal of sanctions saying they had a ripple effect on the Sadc region.

Her calls came just a week after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told American President Joe Biden that sanctions were forcing Zimbabweans to leave their country to seek economic refuge in regional countries.

Dr Pandor said Zimbabwe was in the same situation as Cuba, whose development is constrained by the illegal sanctions. “South Africa calls for an end to the embargo against Cuba, which continues to impede the right to development of her people.

In the same vein, we call for an end to unilateral coercive measures against Zimbabwe, which have compounded the problems experienced by the people of Zimbabwe and have the detrimental effect on the broader Sadc region,” said Dr Pandor.
Newly elected Kenyan President William Ruto also used his address to call for the unconditional removal of sanctions.

He said the ordinary suffer more as a result of sanctions.
“There might never be a more opportune time to revisit the practice of unilateral coercive actions, which often violate fundamental tenets of a rule-based international order such as those imposed on Zimbabwe and Cuba.

“Apart from undermining the sovereign equality of nations, they also indiscriminately punish the general citizenry, reserving their bitterest sting for innocent hustlers and the vulnerable. This compounds injustice and worsens suffering,” said President Ruto.

President William Ruto

Addressing the same platform, President Mnangagwa welcomed the anti-sanctions solidarity by Africa and other progressive nations describing Zimbabwe as a peace-loving country which wants a fair chance to deliver on its peoples’ aspirations.

“We remain indebted to the Sadc region and the AU well as other progressive members in the community of nations for the unwavering support and calls for the removal of these unwarranted and unjustified sanctions. We once again call for their immediate and unconditional removal,” said President Mnangagwa.

He welcomed the findings of the United National Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of the Unilateral Coercive Measures on the enjoyment of human rights who visited Zimbabwe in 2021.

Professor Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur visited Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission in October last year and presented her findings on the impact of sanctions to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month, where she revealed that sanctions were impeding the enjoyment of human rights by Zimbabweans. – @nqotshili

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Entire Zimbabwe goes dark – Bulawayo24 News

ZESA says entire country went dark at 10.26AM today after “an abrupt system disturbance on the Alaska-Warren high voltage transmission powerlines linking Kariba and Harare.”

While this now resolved, ZESA warns of further outages in days ahead due to “depressed generation”

“Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company (ZETDC) would like to apologize to its valued customers for an unplanned nationwide power outage that happened at 1026HRS. This was due to an abrupt system disturbance on the Alaska-Warren high voltage transmission powerlines (Linking Kariba and Harare). This has since been resolved by our Engineers.

“Further to our communication on the 24th of September 2022, customers are encouraged to use electricity sparingly as the national grid is still experiencing depressed generation.”

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