ZANU PF not surprised by ‘bitter’ US visa restrictions, dismisses move as regime change agenda


HARARE – Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU PF said that it remains unshaken by the recent visa restrictions imposed by the United States, stating that the “unsurprising” move is part of a larger foreign policy agenda to instigate regime change by a disgruntled superpower. This was echoed by Farai Marapira, Director of Information and Publicity for ZANU PF. 

Farai Marapira Zanu pf director for publicity and information says ruling party unsurprised by US travel restrictions
Unfazed ... Farai Marapira likened the foreign policy review by the US to a “tantrum” from a “bitter” superpower

He expressed this sentiment on Tuesday, emphasizing that the sanctions highlight America's lack of genuine concern for the Zimbabwean people and their democratic principles, instead focusing on their foreign policy goals.

The US government announced on Monday the implementation of new travel restrictions for Zimbabweans believed to be undermining democracy in the country. 

The restrictions include visa denials for individuals involved in activities such as electoral manipulation, hindering the operations of NGOs, interfering with the independence of the judiciary in electoral cases, committing human rights abuses, and engaging in corruption. 

The families of these individuals will also be denied US visas, according to the announcement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Marapira asserted that the US visa restrictions are not motivated by concerns for democracy or the well-being of the Zimbabwean people, but rather stem from a desire for regime change. 

“As the ruling party we are not surprised by these new measures that have been put in place by the government. Simply for the reason that the Americans have no concern in democracy, have no concern in the Zimbabwean people. What they are concerned about is their foreign policy especially with a look towards their regime change agenda,” Marapira said. 

Marapira further characterized the restrictions as a reaction to the failure of the US to destabilize ZANU PF during the recent August elections, pejoratively describing them as “bitter grapes” and a “tantrum” at the government level.

According to Marapira, the US has persistently sought to remove the ruling party from power, and the new travel restrictions constitute a coordinated foreign policy by America and its Western allies targeting “revolutionary parties and independence movements” in Africa. 

Although the ruling party does not possess specific information regarding the targeted individuals, Marapira acknowledged that while unexpected, such actions are to be expected from the US. 

He emphasized that the visa restrictions are a consequence of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s contentious and acerbic reelection in August, which was criticized by opposition groups – who called it a “gigantic fraud” – and election observers for failing to meet regional and international standards.

The disputed election has adversely impacted Mnangagwa’s legitimacy in the eyes of Western nations. 

His administration had been working on a “re-engagement” agenda to improve relations with Western countries, with hopes of securing credit lines and foreign direct investment to revive Zimbabwe’s moribund economy.

Marapira stated that the ruling party remains keen to work with the the US, saying, “Our options are wide, our options are varied, we would love to work with the Americans but if they do not wish to work with us, we cannot hold them by their throats”.

In its announcement of the visa restrictions, the US State Department clarified that the policy is specifically directed at individuals involved in actions contrary to democracy during the elections and not at the Zimbabwean people. 

The State Department also stressed the American government’s commitment of the United States to support the aspirations of Zimbabweans for free and fair elections that uphold democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights.

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