US imposes visa restriction policy for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe

US imposes visa restriction policy for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe

The United States has imposed visa restriction policy for ‘undermining democracy in Zimbabwe’ over the African country’s August 2023 general election.

US secretary of state Antony J Blinken announced the new US visa policy over Zimbabwe election in a press statement on Monday. The statement was uploaded on the website of the US Department of State.

‘I am announcing today a new visa restriction policy for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe,’ the statement said, adding, ‘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.’

‘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,’ the statement read.

‘Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. Anyone who undermines the democratic process in Zimbabwe—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Zimbabwe’s August 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy,’ it read.

‘The visa restriction policy will apply to specific individuals involved in these acts, and is not directed at the Zimbabwean people. The United States supports Zimbabweans’ aspirations to have free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people and strengthen democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights,’ said the statement.