As the United States gears up for the swearing in of Joe Biden Today, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the lifting of US sanctions against his country. He reasoned that the US has no right to punish other nations in the name of democracy after the insurrection at the US Capitol. However, Zimbabwe’s own human rights record looms over the two year anniversary of a brutal protest crackdown.

The US has levied economic sanctions against Zimbabwe for human rights abuses and corruption since 2002, which includes targeting 141 individuals, including Mnangagwa. He as the predecessor to Robert Mugabe, has repeatedly claimed that sanctions were what we’re ruining the country for Zimbabweans.

“Ordinary people don’t have accounts in Switzerland; ordinary people do not import Ferraris from Italy. Ordinary people do not shop at Harrods,” says Director Ngwenya.

“What affects ordinary people are bad economic policies and oppression– it is only those who benefit from chaos and corruption are affected” by sanctions, he adds.

He says that Zimbabweans simply want a good, democratic, sensible government.

“The ones that talk about sanctions are the ones who are guilty,” he adds.

While all eyes are on the US when Biden takes power on Wednesday, Ngwenya contends that the US will remain committed to Zimbabwe, but will not lift the sanctions.

Supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump, incited by his comments on social media to take back the presidency, took it upon themselves to storm the Capitol in Washington DC on the 6 January. Five people were killed in the violence.

While the world looked on in horror, the US House of Representatives quickly voted to impeach Trump, a request to be examined by the Senate after its recess ends on Tuesday.

“Donald Trump epitomizes the sort of third world mentality that elections are about winning at all costs, even if it means discrediting the institutions that were promoting the fairness,” says Rejoice Ngwenya, the director of Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions, or COMALISO, a Harare-based policy think tank.

Ngwenya says that while it would be naïve to condemn democracy on the basis of that one event, it has dented the image of the US as the “last frontier of democratic sanity.”

Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa feels the United States lost much credibility in those few hours.