UNITED STATES targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle are likely to remain following last week’s disputed elections in which the Zanu PF leader controversially romped to victory with a high margin, a Washington top government official has said.
The US had promised to unconditionally lift or ease targeted restrictive measures slapped on Mugabe and a coterie of his followers, provided Harare held free, fair and credible elections.
But allegations have been swirling that the Zanu PF strongman stole the election courtesy of rigging and the manipulation of the voters’ roll, resulting in Mugabe’s main contender Morgan Tsvangirai rejecting the outcome of the elections.
“Preliminary reports from the African Union, Sadc and local observer missions also noted a number of concerns.
“So we’ve been clear that any easing of sanctions will only occur in the context of credible, transparent, peaceful elections.
“We do not believe these results were a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people” US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf was quoted by the SABC news channel on Tuesday.
The US is among countries in the West that have condemned last week’s elections as not credible and have gone further to call for a rerun.
But Mugabe has dismissed the US protestations, saying Washington and its allies in the West should stay clear of Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
He accuses the US and its allies of banking rolling Tsvangirai’s failed presidential bid.
Zanu PF has condemned the US sanctions as evil and directly responsible for the country economic and political problems.
On Tuesday, the US charged two Chicago men, Prince Asiel Ben Israel and Gregory Turner for allegedly lobbying for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The two face 20-year jail sentences if found guilty of violating the International Emergency Powers Act that bars that country’s nationals from providing lobbying, public relations and media consultation services to Zimbabwe officials under sanctions.