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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.