US extends Zim sanctions ahead of elections

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Harare - The US senate and congress have passed a bill meant to extend the sanctions the world superpower imposed on Zimbabwe back in 2001.

The Bill, titled the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act (S. 2779) was passed on Wednesday, ahead of the southern African country's elections on Monday July 30, 2018.

Zimbabwe has been under US sanctions since 2001, after the government, then led by former president Robert Mugabe, embarked on a land reform programme that saw white commercial farmers displaced from their farms.

The bill details the steps Zimbabwe must take for US sanctions to be lifted, namely the holding of free and fair elections.

The US also accuses the Mugabe-led government of driving the economy into the ground and violently suppressing any opposition to their power.

"This bill makes important changes to update the 2001 Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. It lays out our expectations for a free and fair election, as well as actions needed to achieve key economic reforms.

"The expectations of the 2001 legislation hold true today – Zimbabwe must make credible progress towards holding free and fair elections, restore the rule of law and ensure military subordination to the civilian government, among other desperately needed reforms," said the US, in a presser released by its Foreign Affairs Committee.

The US said the upcoming elections would be an opportunity to chart a dramatic new course for Zimbabwe, and the next president must take bold and immediate action to address key governance and economic issues.

Following its passing, in both the senate and congress, the Bill now heads to president Donald Trump's desk for his signature.

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