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First 100 Days of Zimbabwe’s Transitional Government

May 28th, 2009

On Sunday May 24, Zimbabwe marked the first 100 days of the Government of National Unity between President Robert Mugabe (ZANU-PF) and Movement for Democracy Change (MDC) under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangairai. It has a difficult and challenging 100 days of strained relations between rival political factions in Zimbabwe.

There have been political tensions over the appointment of governors for provinces and Mugabe’s refusal to swear in the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture. Economic tensions continue to be hot issues. Differences remain over who will appoint the Central Bank Governor and control the communications department for the country.

The international community has not yet opened its financial purse to help Zimbabwe, arguing that political factions especially President Mugabe must fully implement the agreement of Unity Government and genuinely engage in power sharing.

President Obama renewed US sanctions in March 2009 against President Mugabe and his government for another year despite appeals from Prime Minister Morgan Tsangairai to western donors to lift the sanctions. US Sanctions were first imposed through Congressional legislation in 2001 in the form of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act 2001 (ZIDERA). This law enabled the United States to impose sanctions on President Mugabe and his top lieutenants as well as companies owned by people dealing in his administration.

The U.S. sanctions will remain in effect as long Zimbabwe’s poor human rights record, political intolerance and denial of the rule of law continue. ZIDERA empowers the U.S. to use its voting rights and influence as the main donor in multilateral lending agencies to veto all applications by the Zimbabwe government for finance, credit facilities, loan rescheduling, and international debt cancellation.

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