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Zanu-PF unfazed by new visa restrictions imposed by the US government

by Staff reporter
08 Dec 2023 at 20:54hrs | Views
Zanu-PF says it is unfazed by new visa restrictions imposed by the United States government on individuals accused of rigging elections and intimidating voters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the policy on Monday saying it was targeting people who are against "Zimbabwean people's aspirations for free and fair elections and a strengthened democracy."

"This policy sends a clear message that the United States stands with the Zimbabwean people in their aspirations for a strong democracy," stated Blinken.

"We will not tolerate actions that undermine these aspirations, and we will hold accountable those who engage in such acts."

Individuals deemed responsible for, or complicit in undermining democracy in Zimbabwe

will be subject to visa restrictions under section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The targeted individuals are those involved in activities such as manipulating elections, disenfranchising voters, excluding opposition members, restricting civil society, intimidating voters and observers, engaging in electoral corruption, interfering with the Judiciary, and abusing human rights.

These restrictions may also extend to their family members. Zanu-PF information director Farai Marapira said the party was not surprised because the United States has an anti-Zimbabwe foreign policy.

"Our elections were free and fair, that is why there was no court case from the opposition. The observer missions had to find things outside their mandate to criticise our election. The US government has never had any proper basis for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe and they are continuing with this, they have no logical reason," Marapira said.

"We know that they are not concerned with any facts of the matter; we know that the only reason is the land issue. We will continue winning and now we are learning to live with the sanctions. The boat is taking in water but we are not sinking."

Maparapira said the ruling party, however, remained "open for engagement like what President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa has said, Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none."

However, the August elections drew criticism from regional and international observer missions.

Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust executive director Ignatious Sadziwa said the elections were not credible.

"The elections did not meet the international and regional standards," Sadziwa said.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said sanctions on Zimbabwe had failed to achieve the intended goal.

"Sanctions are a tool for international diplomacy and based on what the ambassador said, they are meant to cause behaviour change, to promote human rights, democracy among other things," Saungweme said.

"However, we have seen in many cases that sanctions are tried and failed. There is no way we can see sanctions triggering behaviour change."

Analyst McDonald Lewanika accused the Zanu-PF government of introducing repressive laws to stifle dissent.

The ruling party blames sanctions for the country's economic problems. The US, Britain and the EU officials have long refuted those accusations, saying the sanctions are targeting individuals and certain companies rather than State institutions.

In December last year, the US added four Zimbabwean nationals and two local companies to the sanctions list. One of the individuals is Emmerson Mnangagwa Junior.

Source - the standard