Diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and the United States of America were established on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day on 18 April 1980. This followed a protracted liberation struggle against colonial rule.
The land reform process in Zimbabwe, which the Western countries, including the US, have strongly criticised from its inception, has been an integral feature of Zimbabwe’s Foreign Policy, and the refusal by some Western countries to recognise its centrality to economic development and stability, has continued to strain Zimbabwe’s relations with some of these Western countries.
To that end, the Foreign Policy challenges arising therefrom, include imposition of sanctions on the country by the United States and its UK and EU allies. The most punitive economically damaging legislation is in the form of the punitive Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of December 2001. Since the US’s promulgation in December 2001 of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, Zimbabwe has reeled under tightened economic sanctions that include the prohibition of budgetary assistance by the IMF and the World Bank as well as other international finance sources. All this came, despite the fact that Zimbabwe does not have a bilateral dispute with the US.
The evolvement of the sanctions programme on Zimbabwe indicates that Zimbabwe’s bilateral dispute with the UK has proved to be a very wasteful standoff, which, regrettably, has driven away attention from the real development priorities to unwarranted and overblown debates on democracy, human rights, governance, and rule of law.
Zimbabwe’s position is that the US (and its UK and EU allies) took unilateral measures and imposed sanctions on the country, and made unilateral demands without due dialogue or engagement taking place. Yet, Zimbabwe has always been ready to engage and dialogue with them.
Zimbabwe has always maintained that there were no justifications for the imposition of sanctions on the country and continues to demand for their immediate and unconditional removal.