Press Releases

Treasury Sanctions Two Individuals for Human Rights Abuse in Zimbabwe

Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Anselem Sanyatwe (Sanyatwe) and Owen Ncube (Ncube) for their involvement in human rights abuses including directing an attack on peaceful demonstrators and political opponents in Zimbabwe. OFAC is concurrently removing sanctions on Ray Kaukonde, Shuvai Ben Mahofa, Sithokozile Mathuthu, and Naison Ndlovu, all of whom were previously designated pursuant to Treasury’s Zimbabwe sanctions authorities.

“Political and military leaders in Zimbabwe have repeatedly used violence to silence political dissent and peaceful protests,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Justin G. Muzinich. “The Trump Administration will hold accountable corrupt Zimbabwean elites for their repressive and violent rule.”


In July 2018, Zimbabwe held its first elections since the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe in late 2017. Protesters subsequently took to the streets to speak out against the flawed elections. According to public reports, on August 1, 2018, security forces fired live ammunition to disperse the protesters, resulting in the deaths of at least six individuals and many more injured. According to multiple sources, Sanyatwe, in his former role as the commander of the Zimbabwean National Army’s Presidential Guard Brigade, activated and deployed troops to multiple parts of the capital city to attack and silence the demonstrators. Sanyatwe reportedly ordered a member of the Zimbabwean military to shoot protestors. Sanyatwe was later appointed as the Zimbabwe Ambassador to Tanzania, a position he still occupies. 

Sanyatwe is being designated for being responsible for, or participating in, human rights abuses related to political repression in Zimbabwe pursuant to E.O. 13469.


In his role as the Minister of National Security, Ncube, with the support of other Zimbabwean government officials, ordered the Zimbabwean security services to identify, abduct, and mistreat individuals assessed to be supporters of a Zimbabwean opposition group. In addition, while in his position, the government of Zimbabwe has at times used so-called “ferret teams” to abduct and beat individuals deemed to be a threat to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

Ncube is being designated for being responsible for, or participating in, human rights abuses related to political repression in Zimbabwe pursuant to E.O. 13469.


Beginning with E.O. 13288, “Blocking Property of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe,” in March of 2003, the Department of the Treasury has used its authorities to identify, disrupt the activities of, and hold accountable persons who commit human rights abuses, engage in corruption, or undermine democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe. Treasury joins the Department of State in urging the Zimbabwean government to take meaningful steps towards creating a peaceful, prosperous, and politically vibrant Zimbabwe, rather than using public resources to blame Zimbabwe’s ills on parties other than its corrupt elite and the institutions they abuse for their personal benefit. Today’s actions demonstrate the importance of Treasury’s Zimbabwe authorities and U.S. commitment to support their viability.

Treasury’s authorities in relation to Zimbabwe are publicly available, and Treasury strongly encourages those with questions on the reach or extent of those authorities, or the criteria for the listing or delisting of individuals or entities, to access Treasury’s page dedicated to the Zimbabwe sanctions program, found here.

As a result of Treasury’s designation, all property and interests in property of these individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated person.

These actions follow Sanyatwe and Ncube’s public designations for gross violations of human rights by the Department of State in August and October 2019, which blocked Sanyatwe and Ncube from entering the United States. 

For more information on the individuals designated today, click here.