United States Senators. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, yesterday introduced a bill to lay the framework for U.S. relations with the new government in Zimbabwe. This legislation updates the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 and sets forth the steps Zimbabwe needs to take to have sanctions on its country lifted.
President Mnangagwa has signaled his intent to bring about change in Zimbabwe. His words need to be followed by concrete actions. This measure outlines steps that, if taken, would go a long way to demonstrate that President Mnangagwa is earnest in his desire to bring about long-overdue change for the people of Zimbabwe, who suffered under authoritarian rule for far too long.
Coons said they will visit Zimbabwe to assess the steps being taken to hold free, fair and credible elections. Said Coons:
After 37 years of suffering under the repressive rule of Robert Mugabe, the people of Zimbabwe should be excited about the possibility of a brighter future. To ensure conditions throughout the country improve, the international community should insist on concrete actions from the new government of Zimbabwe before lifting sanctions and renewing investment in the country. This bill is intended to outline the U.S. Senate’s expectations of the steps President Mnangagwa and other leaders should take. We look forward to visiting Zimbabwe, meeting with its top officials, and assessing the steps they are taking to hold free, fair, and credible elections as well as to advance broader economic and political reforms to improve the lives of all the citizens of Zimbabwe.
The new requirements for amendment.
Withholding of funding for AFDB
BVR released without cost and endorsed by all registered parties
Independent electoral management body nominated by all political parties represented in parliament
ZDF not permitted to campaign for any candidate nor intimidate voters
International observers, including from US, AU, SADC, and EU
Candidates granted free and full access to state media – equal time and coverage to all registered parties
CSOs able to carry out voter and civic education and monitor electoral process
Presidential election widely accepted a free, fair, and credible by international and domestic civil society monitors, and president-elect free to assume duties of the office
Constitutional implementation, including devolution
Transparent and credible accounting for all diamond revenues since 2000
Acknowledgement of human rights abuses during Operation Murambatsvina and 2008 election
Acknowledgement and apology for Gukurahundi and compensation to victims of abuses
Immediate inquiry into disappearance of prominent human rights activists