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Bass introduces new legislation updating Zimbabwe Democracy Act

Karen Bass (265259)
Karen Bass

Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Africa, joined Reps. Ed Royce (CA-39)  chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel (D-New York), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) have introduced legislation to update the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA). This update lays out clear steps to lay the framework for bilateral relations with the United States and focuses on governance, rule of law, and human rights, with an emphasis on holding free and fair elections.

“Zimbabwe is at a crucial point in its history,” Bass said. “After years of political and economic crisis, the government there has the opportunity to set the country on a new trajectory.  This update sets necessary markers for lifting existing sanctions, which includes some related to the upcoming elections at the end of this month. I hope that the government can create an environment conducive to free, fair, transparent, and nonviolent elections.  This will be an essential and important step and we look forward to continuing to work with Zimbabwe as they work toward restoring rule of law, improving governance and respect for human rights.”

“On July 30, the people of Zimbabwe have the opportunity to turn the page on decades of flawed elections, state-sponsored violence, and economic mismanagement,” Engel explained. “These elections, which I hope will be free, fair, and peaceful, are the first time in decades that Robert Mugabe will not be on the ballot. But that alone is not a reason to be optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future. Through this amendment to the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, we can work with the government and the people of Zimbabwe to strengthen democratic institutions and respect for the rule of law.”

“Free and fair elections, upholding human rights protections, and economic prosperity are the pillars of any civil and democratic society,” Rush said. “This legislation provides the necessary framework to improve our relationship with Zimbabwe and aide them in truly transitioning from a government that has been burdened by ineffective governance.  I am confident that the steps outlined in this bill will not only benefit Zimbabwe, but will help forge an improved partnership between the United States and Zimbabwe, enhance both our countries, and significantly benefit all of our citizens,” said Rush.