News / Africa

South Africa Asks US to Ease Zimbabwe Sanctions

U.S. President Barack Obama referred to the upcoming Zimbabwe elections while speaking at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama referred to the upcoming Zimbabwe elections while speaking at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013.
Anita Powell
South Africa has asked the United States to ease sanctions on Zimbabwe’s leaders ahead of scheduled July 31 elections. 

The sanctions were imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle because of alleged rights abuses. South Africa argues the sanctions have been counterproductive, hurting the nation’s economy.  

“Instead of assisting the economy of Zimbabwe, in fact they have had a negative effect on the economy of Zimbabwe," said Lindiwe Zulu, special advisor on international relations to South African President Jacob Zuma, the chief negotiator on Zimbabwe for the Southern African Development Community (SADC). "The purpose for the sanctions was supposed to make those individuals not to be able to travel to countries, which they have not done, and not much has made a difference on their not being able to travel."

The SADC argues sanctions deter business by giving Zimbabwe a negative image.

However, citing numerous documented abuses on the part of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, Human Rights Watch's Africa Advocacy Director Tiseke Kasambala wants U.S. President Barack Obama to keep the sanctions in place.

“As a matter of principle, I think certainly these sanctions have worked and it’s for that reason that we see a concerted effort by ZANU-PF to continue talking about them," Kasambala said. "Because if they didn’t work, ZANU-PF won’t care. But we’ve seen ZANU-PF go on a drive throughout SADC, talking about how these sanctions must be lifted before they themselves can engage with governments."

Others believe the sanctions should remain in place until Zimbabwe proves itself by holding free, fair and credible elections.

“It puts pressure on ZANU-PF to change their ways," said Johannesburg-based researcher James Stent of Good Governance Africa.  "And the sanctions also encourage Zimbabwe to stick to more international norms, such as holding credible elections. If Zimbabwe can transform itself back into a country which sticks to the rule of law, to democratic processes, it’s very likely the sanctions will be lifted, as the divestment campaign against apartheid South Africa worked to move the country towards a democratic society.”   

Obama did not directly respond to Zuma’s request, but he did mention Zimbabwe in a speech to students at the University of Cape Town.

“There is an opportunity to move forward, but only if there is an election that is free and fair and peaceful so that Zimbabweans can determine their future without fear of intimidation and retribution," he said. "And after elections, there must be respect for the universal rights upon which democracy depends.”

Mugabe, who at age 89 is Africa's oldest leader, seeks to extend his 33-year rule.  His opponents want to delay the July 31 poll to enact political reforms, in hopes of preventing a repeat of the bloodshed that marred the 2008 election.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid