Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who superintended over Zimbabwe’s controversial sanctions law back in 2001, has died aged 84 from Covid-19.
His death was announced Monday by his family via Facebook.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” read the message.
Powell held the position from 2001 to 2005.
He is best known to Zimbabweans for presiding over bitter relations with the then Robert Mugabe led administration and had a strong hand in the enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act passed 2001 by the United States Congress.
The sanctions law, which barred American firms from any trade with Zimbabwe, was passed ostensibly to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery.
ZDERA remains in place.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba Monday posted a somewhat gloating message over Powell’s death.
“Gen Colin Powell has died of COVID-19-related complications. Conscious Zimbabweans remember him as US’s black Secretary of State who afflicted us with punitive sanctions!!!!!” Charamba said.
The once controversial top diplomat once condemned Mugabe and his “violent misrule” and envisioned another round of elections and a transitional government with the “president gone.”
This followed a violent presidential election controversially won by the now late former leader 2002.
In an op-ed column published in The New York Times, Powell urged Zanu PF and MDC MPs to “legislate the constitutional changes to allow for a transition” that would bring a new leader to the country.
“With the president gone, with a transitional government in place and with a date fixed for new elections, Zimbabweans of all descriptions would, I believe, come together to begin the process of rebuilding their country.
“If this happened, the United States would be quick to pledge generous assistance to the restoration of Zimbabwe’s political and economic institutions even before the election. Other donors, I am sure, would be close behind.”