AMERICAN Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced a round of new regulations targeted at individuals undermining Zimbabwe's democracy by either playing a role in rigging elections, disregarding human rights, or abusing courts in electoral processes.
Also targeted by the policy are those who restrict the operating environment of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) whose operations have been hampered by the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill.
According to Blinken, those identified will be denied VISAs to travel to America. The denial might also apply to their immediate family members.
"Under this policy, the United States will pursue visa restrictions, pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, for individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Zimbabwe," said Blinken.
"Such acts may include manipulating or rigging the electoral process; disenfranchising voters or preventing individuals from exercising their right to vote; excluding members of the political opposition from electoral processes; restricting the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to operate and engage in democratic, governance, or human rights related activities; or intimidation of voters, election observers, or CSOs through threats or acts of physical violence.
"They may also include engaging in corrupt acts, including bribery, that undermine the electoral process; interfering with the independent operation of the judiciary during its adjudication of electoral cases; or abusing or violating human rights in Zimbabwe."
President Emmerson Mnangagwa's efforts to re-engage with America have constantly hit a snag since his ascent in 2017.
Most of Mnangagwa's top officials in ruling Zanu PF and some in government are on America's sanctions list, which bars them from travelling there on personal business.
A worsening human rights record and disputed August elections that fell short of international best practices have combined to ensure the two countries' tiff remains interminable.