Photo credit: DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com).

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE two-decade long rift between the United States (US) and Zimbabwe has widened.

This after America slapped some Zimbabwe individuals with a new visa restriction policy for allegedly undermining democracy.

The US Department of State did not disclose the identity of the individuals but the latest restrictions are linked to the elections Zimbabwe held in August.

A spokesperson said the US will pursue visa restrictions, pursuant to sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, for individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.

Such acts may include manipulating or rigging the electoral process, disenfranchising voters or preventing individuals from exercising their right to vote and excluding members of the political opposition from electoral processes.

The acts cited by the US also include restricting the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to operate and engage in democratic, governance or human rights related activities or intimidation of voters, election observers, or CSOs through threats or acts of physical violence.

These discrepancies marred the general elections in August.

The US Department of State also alleged restricted individuals’ engagement in corrupt acts, including bribery, that undermine the electoral process, interfering with the independent operation of the judiciary during its adjudication of electoral cases or abusing or violating human rights in Zimbabwe.

Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. Anyone who undermines the democratic process in Zimbabwe -including in the lead-up to, during and following Zimbabwe’s elections -may be found ineligible for US visas under this policy, the department warned.

The visa restriction policy, according to the department, will apply to specific individuals involved in these acts, and is not directed at the Zimbabwean people.

“The US supports Zimbabweans’ aspirations to have free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people and strengthen democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights.”

Relations between the US and Zimbabwe have been strained since the early 2000s.

America accuses Zimbabwe of human rights violations and vote rigging.

However, the Southern African country accuses the US of sabotaging its economy through sanctions after Zimbabwe seized land from the minority white farmers.

– CAJ News 

Source of original article: CAJ News Africa (www.cajnewsafrica.com).
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