News / Africa

Credible Zimbabwe Elections Could Mean End of US Sanctions

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (4th R) and Grace Mugabe (2nd R) on Mugabe's 89th birthday, February 20, 2013.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (4th R) and Grace Mugabe (2nd R) on Mugabe's 89th birthday, February 20, 2013.
The U.S. government has called on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that uniformed police forces act professionally as the African country prepares to hold elections.  Visiting U.S. officials say credible elections could result in Washington lifting economic sanctions on the African nation’s leadership.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, Reuben Brigety, told journalists in Harare on Friday that Zimbabwe's government has improved the lives of its citizens over the past four years.  He said continued progress could mean the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against the country's leaders.

However another visitor, Deputy Assistnat Secretary of State for Human Rights and Development, Karen Hanrahan, said the Obama administration was worried about some recent actions which might reverse all the gains which have been made in Zimbabwe.

“The United States is concerned by emerging trends that put the progress Zimbabwe has made at risk," said Hanrahan. "As we get closer to elections, some are attempting to push the country back into the vicious cycle of intimidation, violence and instability.”

The visit by U.S. officials to Zimbabwe coincided with reports of police raiding civic organizations’ offices and confiscating materials that include radios meant to be distributed to people in rural areas.   

Hanrahan said the United States was aware of this reported intimidation by Zimbabwe's army and police.

“These patterns demonstrate clear efforts to manipulate the rule of law and the electoral playing field," she said. "If they continue, it will be difficult to consider the electoral environment conducive to a process consistent with SADC [Southern African Development Community] election standards  that yields a clear and legitimate winner.  The United States looks to Zimbabwe’s leaders to rectify these trends and to allow the people the opportunity to exercise their rights to self-determination and freedom from fear.”
 
Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections in mid-2013, assuming voters approve a a proposed new constitution in a March 16 referendum. The elections will end the current power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed in 2009, after disputed and violent elections the previous year.

Asked when Washington would lift sanctions on Mugabe and some ZANU-PF party officials, Brigety outlined what must be achieved before that happens.

"The United States is prepared to meet action for action as a result of positive developments here on the ground," said Brigety. "The nature of our sanctions policy are unlikely to be changed unless and until three of those benchmarks have been met positively.  First; a peaceful referendum, secondly the series of steps between the referendum and the election and finally what we hope will be a credible and non-violent election."

The United States and many other Western countries slapped Mugabe and some of his political allies with travel bans and banking freezes beginning in 2002, after reports of human rights abuses and the rigging of that year's election.

The European Union lifted some of those sanctions this week, and said it would review the rest if there are credible elections this year.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid