Following President Robert Mugabe sarcastically proposing marriage to President Barack Obama in the wake of the legalization of gay marriage, to Obama excluding the Zimbabwean leader during his 2015 U.S. state visit at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the nature of the diplomatic relations between Harare and Washington has always been awkward. To make matters worse, the outgoing U.S. President has extended sanctions against Mugabe’s government by another year.
Outgoing United States President Barack Obama has extended sanctions against Zimbabwe by at least another year, a report said on Sunday.
This came as reports on Friday indicated that Obama’s administration was set to ease sanctions against Sudan and broaden now limited talks with the long estranged African government.
However, sanctions against Zimbabwe were to continue in “conformity with the Washington’s national emergency policies”.
The US imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000, after they accused President Robert Mugabe of trampling on human rights, rigging elections and repression of press freedom – accusations that the veteran leader denied.
The sanctions led to devastating economic challenges, with the country reportedly now sitting with about 85% unemployment.
According to New Zimbabwe, opposition parties in the southern African country welcomed the latest development, with a government minister, however describing it as “inconsequential”.
Policy towards Africa
Deputy spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Thabitha Khumalo applauded the move, but said that the sanctions did not have the intended impact, as Mugabe was still able to travel to the US on a regular occasions.