Flake, Coons Outline Framework for U.S. – Zimbabwe Relations

Flake, Coons Outline Framework for U.S. – Zimbabwe Relations

Posted on Mar 22 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced a bill to lay the framework for U.S. relations with the new government in Zimbabwe. This legislation updates the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 and sets forth the steps Zimbabwe needs to take to have sanctions on its country lifted.

“President Mnangagwa has signaled his intent to bring about change in Zimbabwe. His words need to be followed by concrete actions,” said Flake. “This measure outlines steps that, if taken, would go a long way to demonstrate that President Mnangagwa is earnest in his desire to bring about long-overdue change for the people of Zimbabwe, who suffered under authoritarian rule for far too long.”   

“After 37 years of suffering under the repressive rule of Robert Mugabe, the people of Zimbabwe should be excited about the possibility of a brighter future.  To ensure conditions throughout the country improve, the international community should insist on concrete actions from the new government of Zimbabwe before lifting sanctions and renewing investment in the country. This bill is intended to outline the U.S. Senate’s expectations of the steps President Mnangagwa and other leaders should take,” said Coons. “We look forward to visiting Zimbabwe, meeting with its top officials, and assessing the steps they are taking to hold free, fair, and credible elections as well as to advance broader economic and political reforms to improve the lives of all the citizens of Zimbabwe.”

To view a PDF of the bill, click here.

 Summary of the Bill and conditions for lifting sanctions:

‘‘(2) PRE-ELECTION CONDITIONS. —The following pre-election conditions are met:

‘‘(A) Establishment and public release, without cost, in both paper and digital formats, of a biometric voter registration roll that is endorsed by all registered political parties.

‘‘(B) An independent electoral management body is selected, the members of which should be nominated by all political parties represented in the parliament of Zimbabwe, and permitted to entirely carry out the functions as- signed to it in section 239 of Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution in an entirely independent manner.

‘‘(C) The Defense Forces of Zimbabwe are neither permitted to actively participate in campaigning for any candidate nor to intimidate voters, and must verifiably and credibly uphold their constitutionally mandated duty to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all per- sons and be non-partisan in character.

‘‘(D) International observers, including from the United States, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the European Union are permitted to observe the entire electoral process, both prior to, on, and following voting day, including by monitoring polling stations and counting centers, and are able to independently operate in a manner enabling them to access and analyze vote tallying, tabulation, and the transmission and content of voting results.

(E) Candidates are allowed free and full access to state media, which must afford equal time and coverage to all registered parties, in an impartial manner, and must be able to campaign in an environment that is free from intimidation and violence.

‘‘(F) Civil society organizations must freely  and independently be able to carry out voter and civic education, and to monitor the entire electoral process, including by observing, recording, and transmitting public-posted or announced voting results, including at the ward, constituency, and all higher levels of the vote tallying process, including through the conduct of one or more parallel vote tabulation exercises.’’;

(2) by redesignating paragraphs (3) and (5) as paragraphs (7) and (8), respectively;(3) by striking paragraph (4); (4) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following new paragraphs:

‘‘(3) PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. —Zimbabwe has held an election that is widely accepted as free, fair, and credible by independent international and domestic civil society monitors, and the president-elect is free to assume the duties of the office.

(4) UPDATING STATUTES. —Laws enacted prior to passage of Zimbabwe’s new Constitution in March 2013 that are inconsistent with the new Constitution are amended or repealed so that they are consistent with the Constitution.

‘‘(5) UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION. —The Secretary of State has certified that all elements of the Constitution, including devolution, are being implemented.

‘‘(6) ECONOMIC REFORMS. —The Government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated a sustained commitment to reforming Zimbabwe’s economy in ways that

will promote economic growth, address unemploy- ment and underdevelopment, and restore livelihoods. ‘‘(7) DIAMOND REVENUES.—The Secretary of State has certified that a transparent and credible accounting for all diamond revenues since 2000 has

taken place.’’; and
(5) in paragraph (7), as redesignated by para-

graph (2) of this subsection, by striking ‘‘consistent with’’ and all that follows through ‘‘September 1998’’.

SEC. 7. REMOVAL OF AUTHORITY TO PAY LAND ACQUISI- TION COSTS.

Section 5(a)(2) of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 is amended by striking ‘‘, including the payment of costs’’ and all that follows through ‘‘thereto’’.
SEC. 8. INCLUSION OF AUSTRALIA IN CONSULTATIONS

ABOUT ZIMBABWE.

Section 6 of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 is amended by inserting ‘‘Australia, and the United Kingdom’’ after ‘‘Canada,’’.
SEC. 9. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON PAST ATROCITIES AND

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.

It is the sense of Congress that the Government of Zimbabwe should take immediate action to—

(1) unify the people of Zimbabwe by—
(A) acknowledging that human rights have been abused, including during the urban land clearances of Operation Murambatsvina, and the violence perpetrated in the wake of the 2008 election against the opposition and citizens of Zimbabwe;
(B) undertaking a genuine process of national reconciliation up to and including acknowledging and apologizing for atrocities in Matabeleland (Gukurahundi); and

(C) taking steps to offer redress or compensation to victims of abuses identified in sub- paragraphs (A) and (B), in a manner recommended by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission; and

(2) order an immediate inquiry into the disappearance of prominent human rights activists, including Patrick Nabanyama, Itai Dzamara, and Paul Chizuze.

SEC. 10. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON ENFORCEMENT OF SADC TRIBUNAL RULINGS.

It is the sense of Congress that the Government of Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should enforce the SADC tribunal rulings from 2007 to 2010, including 18 disputes involving employment, commercial, and human rights cases sur- rounding dispossessed Zimbabwean commercial farmers and agricultural companies.

SEC. 11. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON STEPS THAT MIGHT IN- CREASE POSSIBILITY OF INCREASED TIES.

It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government would be more optimistic about the possibility for increased ties with Zimbabwe, including in the areas of trade and investment, if—

(1) the government of Zimbabwe takes the steps outlined in section 6 and takes concrete, tangible steps outlined in paragraphs (2) through (7) of section 4(d) of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Eco-nomic Recovery Act of 2001, as added by section 6 of this Act; and

(2) takes concrete, tangible steps towards—
(A) good governance, including respect for opposition, rule of law, and human rights; and (B) economic reforms such as respect for contracts and private property rights.