US targets CIO boss

HARARE - The United States signalled a hardening of its stance on President Robert Mugabe's regime this week when President George Bush lumped Zimbabwe together with crisis-torn Darfur and Kenya as outlaw States.

The naming of Zimbabwe among African countries under the grip of slow-motion genocide was a serious indictment of the Harare administration, with Washington stating that the three hot spots required close US attention.

In a statement congratulating the African Union’s new leaders elected in Addis Ababa last week, Bush said the AU faced “difficult challenges” on ending violence in Darfur and Kenya and promoting democracy in Zimbabwe.

Last month, the Bush administration imposed financial restrictions on Zimbabwe’s intelligence chief Happyton Bonyongwe and Mugabe’s nephew Leo, as well as two companies accused of undermining democracy in Zimbabwe – ZIDCO Holdings and Jongwe Printing and Publishing Co, both owned by Zanu (PF).

A US official said the designations were “part of an increased effort to pressure those who are aiding Mugabe’s efforts to cripple Zimbabwe, including through violence and intimidation.”

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