Minister Tony Blair are particularly poor. Mugabe is angry with the Blair government for its refusal to offer unconditional financing for his land redistribution program, but he has also launched a number of personal verbal attacks against Blair and members of his cabinet. These seem to stem in part from an incident in November 1999, when British gay activists attempted a citizens arrest of Mugabe, who was visiting London. Mugabe, who is outspokenly anti-gay, was deeply outraged and blamed the Blair government for failing to prevent the attack. Britain has reportedly made arrangements to receive as many as 20,000 refugees from Zimbabwe if necessary, but the number eligible for British passports may be significantly larger, since Britain grants this right to people whose parents or grandparents were U.K. citizens.
S. policymakers once saw Zimbabwe as a source of stability in southern Africa, as a
valued contributor to regional peacekeeping, and as an emerging customer for U.S. exports. (See, for example, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Congressional Presentation statements on Zimbabwe, FY1997 and FY1998, as well as earlier presentations.) It was already clear in the later 1990s, however, that concerns over Zimbabwe’s slow progress in economic reform, and over the political situation, were increasing.
Clinton Administration officials were highly critical of the land takeovers and political violence in Zimbabwe, and criticism of Zimbabwe has continued in the Bush Administration. At a speech in South Africa on May 25, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Mugabe seems reluctant to “submit to the law and the will of the people” and called on the Zimbabwe leader to permit a free and fair election. The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 28, that “while the United States desires open and friendly relations with Zimbabwe, we cannot have normal relations until the violence and intimidation are ended, and the rule of law restored.” Kansteiner added that the Administration would work with Congress to try to persuade President Mugabe to permit an open and fair election in 2002.
Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Zimbabwe (Actual Appropriation, $ millions)
Source: USAID. DA=Development Assistance (including Child Survival aid), ESF=Economic Support Fund, IMET=International Military Education and Training. For more information, see CRS Issue Brief IB95052, Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues.
ESF Peace Corps IMET Total