Zimbabwe: The Transitional Government and Implications for U.S. Policy [October 27, 2011]   [open pdf - 390KB]

"The U.S. government, which has expressed concerns regarding the rule of law in Zimbabwe for over a decade and which has long been critical of President Robert Mugabe, has been cautious in its engagement with the country's three-year-old power-sharing government. That government, which includes members of the former opposition, has improved economic and humanitarian conditions during its ongoing transitional rule. However, significant concerns about the country's political future remain. Zimbabwe's March 2008 elections resulted in the party of long-serving President Mugabe losing its parliamentary majority for the first time since independence. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai received more votes than Mugabe in the presidential race, but fell short of the needed margin for victory. Tsvangirai later withdrew his name from the ballot days before the required runoff, amid widespread political violence. Mugabe was thus declared the winner. In September 2008, after weeks of negotiations, Tsvangirai and Mugabe reached an agreement to form a unity government, with Mugabe remaining head of state. Tsvangirai became prime minister and cabinet and gubernatorial positions were divided among the parties. […] The United States has, at the same time, provided substantial humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe. Congress articulated its opposition to the Mugabe government's undemocratic policies in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA; P.L. 107-99) and subsequent legislation. Some in Congress have proposed policy changes in recent years, suggesting that U.S. sanctions be modified to reflect Zimbabwe's current political construct, while others remain unconvinced that sufficient reform has occurred. Debate on the future of U.S. relations with Zimbabwe is ongoing."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34509
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