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Businessmen challenge ZIDERA- report

A group of unnamed businessmen who had been denied entry into the United States under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act were reportedly planning to challenge the law, according to a report in the Business Tribune.

The paper said the businessmen were arguing that the measures were illegal because they violated a basic human right entrenched in American law- the right to be heard.

ZIDERA was passed by the United States to bring back democracy and the rule of law to Zimbabwe and ostensibly only affected people who were listed with the Office of Foreign Assets Control which fell under the US government’s treasury department.

But it in effect barred international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank from granting loans to Zimbabwe unless this was approved by the United States president.

It was therefore not clear whether the affected businessmen were on the sanctions list.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE1825, MEDIA REPORT LOCAL BUSINESSMEN TO CHALLENGE ZDERA;

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1825

2002-08-09 10:03

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001825

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PD (DALTON), AF/S (SCHLACHTER)

 

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT LOCAL BUSINESSMEN TO CHALLENGE ZDERA;

HARARE

 

1.   The lead story in the August 8 edition of the

independent weekly “The Business Tribune” centers on an

application by a consortium of unidentified local

businessmen – allegedly “denied entry into the U. S. A.

early this year under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic

Recovery Act (ZDERA) – challenging the “constitutionality”

of the Act under American Constitution. Under headline

“Zim businessmen to take Bush to court,” the paper reports:

 

2.   “In a test case, a group of local businessmen denied

entry into the U. S. A. early this year through a battery

of travel sanctions imposed on selected Zimbabweans is

suing the Bush administration. They are arguing that the

measures are illegal because they violate a basic human

right entrenched in American law – the right to be heard.

The U. S., as punishment on President Robert Mugabe’s

government, imposed – under the ZDERA – travel sanctions on

some Zimbabweans perceived to be close or aligned to the

ruling ZANU PF party. Now the affected businessmen are

taking the U. S. Government to court seeking an annulment

of the legislation.

 

“According to the court documents obtained by the

`Business Tribune,’ dated June 5, 2002 and prepared by

a Harare law firm, the businessmen are questioning the

constitutionality of ZDERA under the U. S.

Constitution. `We need firstly an opinion as to

whether generally the ZDERA is constitutional. That

is whether in form, substance, and manner of

enactment, there are any grounds on which the entire

Act is or in particular Section 6, and the

proclamation made under the Act are in violation of

the U. S. constitution,’ read the heads of argument.

The business people are also challenging provisions of

the proclamation of the Act, which suspend entry into

the U. S. of `persons who through their business

dealings with Zimbabwe government officials derive

significant financial benefit from policies that

undermine or injure Zimbabwe’s democratic institutions

or impede the transition to a multi-party

democracy. . .’ Furthermore, the business people want

an opinion as to whether the Act, and more importantly

the American constitution, does not guarantee the

right to an objective process for a deliberate

breakdown in the rule of law, politically motivated

violence and intimidation. . .The business people want

to know whether the U. S. Constitution protects

foreign nationals where violations of the supreme law

can be proven and, if so, what criteria and what

practical steps must be taken. . . .”

 

WHITEHEAD

 

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