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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid