The US Congress passed a bill last month to extend its sanctions against Zimbabwe until after the country’s recent election. The Senate passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act (S. 2779) on Jul. 25, 2018, ahead of the country’s election on Jul. 30, 2018.
The bill was introduced to Congress by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and details the steps Zimbabwe would need to take in order to have the sanctions lifted.
“Zimbabwe is at a crucial point in its history,” Bass said in a press release. “After years of political and economic crisis, the government there has the opportunity to set the country on a new trajectory. This update sets necessary markers for lifting existing sanctions, which includes some related to the upcoming elections at the end of this month. I hope that the government can create an environment conducive to free, fair, transparent, and nonviolent elections. This will be an essential and important step and we look forward to continuing to work with Zimbabwe as they work toward restoring rule of law, improving governance and respect for human rights.”
Zimbabwe has been under US sanctions since 2001, when former president Robert Mugabe decided to fast-track the 1980 redistribution programme, which aimed to transfer land from white Zimbabweans of European ancestry to Zimbabweans of African ancestry. The programme saw every white-owned farm being redistributed or marked for future redistribution. Some white farmers have since been allowed to return.
The country’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, served as Mugabe’s Vice President. Many see the election of the Zanu-PF party leader as a continuation of Mugabe’s corrupt legacy. As the sanctions remain intact, the US continues to pay close attention to Zimbabwe under the country’s new leadership.