Harare — THE strained relations between the United States and Zimbabwe have worsened following the deepening political problems in the African nation.
The stripping of Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) Vice President, Tendai Biti, and other party members of their elected seats in parliament is the latest bone of contention.
Since March 2020, parliamentary maneuvers supported by the Zimbabwean government have led to the ouster of 39 MDC Alliance MPs and 81 local elected officials.
"These actions subvert the will of voters, further undermine democracy, and deny millions of Zimbabwean citizens their chosen representation," said Ned Price, US Department of State spokesperson.
He said the US government of President Joe Biden was following events in Zimbabwe "closely."
"We continue to monitor efforts by the government to dismantle the MDC Alliance through the arrest and detention of its leaders and diversion of its assets."
Price said Zimbabwe's selective enforcement of COVID-19 regulations to indefinitely postpone by-elections and prohibit MDC Alliance gatherings, while permitting internal elections and gatherings for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
"The ZANU-PF is misusing the levers of government to silence critics, neutralize opposition, and entrench its political power over the Zimbabwean people."
Price called on Zimbabwe to comply with its obligation to respect the freedoms of expression and association enshrined in the constitution and its international commitments.
In 2001, the administration of then-president George Bush, imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe after alleged human rights violations by the Zimbabwean government, then under Robert Mugabe (now late).