IN a press statement released today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared a new visa restriction policy aimed at individuals believed to be undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.
The policy, outlined under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, targets those responsible for acts such as electoral manipulation, voter disenfranchisement, and intimidation of voters.
Secretary Blinken emphasized that the visa restrictions would apply to individuals engaging in a range of activities detrimental to democracy in Zimbabwe. These include manipulating or rigging elections, excluding political opposition members, restricting the operations of civil society organizations (CSOs), and engaging in corrupt practices that undermine the electoral process. The restrictions may also extend to those who interfere with the independent operation of the judiciary during electoral cases or abuse human rights in Zimbabwe.
The U.S. visa restriction policy is not directed at the Zimbabwean people but specifically targets individuals involved in activities detrimental to democratic principles. The United States aims to support Zimbabweans in their pursuit of free and fair elections that genuinely reflect the will of the people, strengthen democracy, uphold the rule of law, and protect human rights.
Commenting on this development, political analyst Nicholas Ncube speculated that the move by Secretary Blinken might be targeting specific individuals within Zimbabwe. Ncube pointed to accusations against key figures, including Justice Priscilla Chigumba, the head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, who has been accused of conducting fraudulent elections.
Additionally, Sengezo Tshabangu, the Interim Secretary General of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), is accused of obstructing other CCC members from contesting in by-elections. Ncube also mentioned judges accused of siding with ZANU PF in court cases involving the CCC. The political analyst suggests that these individuals could be the primary focus of the U.S. visa restrictions, signaling a more targeted approach to address concerns about democratic processes in Zimbabwe.
Source – Byo24