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U.S. Extends Sanctions Against Zimbabwe's Government


President Bush has extended a series of sanctions against Zimbabwe for one year. They target President Robert Mugabe and his officials, who Mr. Bush says are undermining democracy. The decision renews his executive orders of March 2003 and November 2005, which freeze the assets of more than 100 people and 30 entities considered to be opposing reforms in Zimbabwe. The president says he’s taking the step because the actions and policies of certain members of Zimbabwe’s government pose what he calls a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to US foreign policy.

John Makumbe is a lecturer in political science at the University of Zimbabwe. He told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje he welcomes President Bush’s decision to extend the sanctions. He says, “Things are becoming difficult for the government and the Zimbabwean people,” and that “renewal of US sanctions will force the Zimbabwean government to re-examine its going-it-alone policy and do the right thing.”

Makumbe says sanctions by outside countries generally have “limited impact” in achieving their objectives. He says in Zimbabwe’s case, “the West should supplement its sanctions with an active lobby for cooperation by neighboring African countries. “Only then,” he says, “will sanctions have their maximum impact.”

Makumbe says President Mugabe “will do everything to ensure, with or without him at the helm, his party’s continued stay in power after the 2008 elections.” He says, “If Mr. Mugabe succeeds, his government’s policies will likely continue for years to come.”

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