This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
VOA: What was your reaction to Monday's imposition of U.S. Treasury sanctions against the son of Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Jr. and several other high-ranking people?
Charamba: Well that's very much in character with the purpose of those “illegal economic measures” against Zimbabwe we call sanctions. The intention was never to attack individuals, who don't matter anyway in terms of inter-state relations.
VOA: Washington's intention, as was stated Monday when the sanctions were announced, is that these are targeted sanctions against certain individuals who allegedly violate human rights and engage in corruption deemed detrimental to Zimbabwe. Your reaction?
Charamba: The intention has always been to cripple the economy, the Zimbabwean economy, and it's not fortuitous that they've picked on, suppliers of key inputs to a critical sector of our economy, namely agriculture. They did it before, they are doing it now and I can assure you they'll do it in future.
VOA: How would you characterize current relations between Washington and Harare?
Charamba: A dispute between America and Zimbabwe is not a dispute of personalities, it is a dispute of economic interests, with America pushing for a compliant and [inaudible] Zimbabwe. While Zimbabwe is insisting on pursuing an independent national policy which is not unduly influenced by foreigners.