By Anna Chibamu
President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempt to hoodwink the world his leadership was on a path to restoring democracy in Zimbabwe suffered a setback this week when the US government kept its sanctions on Harare through signing into law, the amended Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA).
ZDERA was enacted by the US government 2001 following claims of massive rights abuses and vote fraud by then President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
The law entailed an asset freeze and trade embargo on blacklisted individuals and firms accused of working in cahoots with the Zanu PF regime to frustrate the enjoyment of democracy in the troubled country.
Mugabe was elbowed out in a popular military coup November last year.
Although his successor has brought relative enjoyment of freedoms within his eight-month period at the helm, America is least swayed by his antics and has kept its sanctions law operational even beyond what has been described worldwide as the most peaceful election Zimbabwe has held since independence.
US President Donald Trump Wednesday signed into law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Bill of 2018.
The Bill, passed by the US Senate in July this year, sets tough conditions for Zimbabwe to re-engage with the American government.
“However, reports of voter intimidation, efforts to politicise food aid and increased military presence in rural polling stations are deeply concerning. The people of Zimbabwe, as well as the international community, remember the horrific violence that occurred during the 2008 elections. That cannot happen again,” Congressman Ed Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
According to the US government, “the Bill is meant to make provisions for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery o the Zimbabwean economy.”
But the Zanu PF led government has scorned the world super power for allegedly imposing tough economic measures in order to trigger an illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.