The United States of America has announced a new VISA policy that will restrict Zimbabweans believed to be responsible for subverting and undermining democratic processes in the country from visiting the US.
The development comes after the country held elections whose credibility was questioned by by the SADC Election Observation Mission and the European Union among others.
The new policy was announced by the U.S Secretary of State, Antony J Blinken, who said the new VISA policy will target individuals implicated in undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.
“I am announcing today a new VISA restriction policy for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe. 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, preventing citizens from voting or disenfranchising them, excluding political opposition members from participating in elections, and hampering the operations of civil society organizations engaged in democratic, governance, or human rights activities,” said Blinken.
He added that family members of these individuals may also be affected.
“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 23 elections may be found ineligible for us VISA and this policy.
“The Visa restriction policy will apply to specific individuals involved in these acts and is not directed at the Zimbabwean people,” he said.
The new policy will affect some members of the ruling Zanu PF party, including Bigwigs, as they are accused of restricting opposition members from exercising their democratic rights.
Reports that have reached this publication reveal that the US is in the process of drafting the names of individuals who will receive VISA restrictions from the country. The development will put a huge strain on efforts that have been made by Zimbabwe to mend relations with the US.