Issued by US Department of State
May 16, 2002
This Public Announcement alerts American citizens to the situation in Zimbabwe following that country's March 2002 presidential election. This Public Announcement supersedes the one issued for Zimbabwe on April 2, 2002, and will expire on August 1, 2002.
U.S. citizens in Zimbabwe should be aware of continuing conditions that could adversely affect their personal security. The political, social, economic, and security situation in Zimbabwe remains fluid. There continue to be incidents of land seizures, police roadblocks, political violence and intimidation in urban, and especially rural areas. The possibility of mass demonstrations cannot be discounted. Growing food shortages and increasing numbers of internally displaced persons have added to social and economic tensions.
The Government of Zimbabwe has enacted the Public Order and Security Act, which makes it an offense to "undermine the authority of the President" or "engender hostility" towards him. This includes speaking negatively of the President in public. The bill also bars individuals from speaking negatively of the police and carrying weapons of any kind. The Government has also enacted the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which, among other things, deals with the abuse of journalistic privilege. Journalists, including Americans, have been detained on charges stemming from this Act.
American citizens should avoid public demonstrations or large gatherings and refrain from taking pictures or videos of political events of any kind. Americans should also monitor the local and international media for developments that may affect their safety. Additionally, American citizens should exercise caution when traveling anywhere in Zimbabwe, should travel with reputable tour operators and are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy, located at 172 Herbert Chitepo Ave., in the capital, Harare, telephone (263)4-250-593/4.
For additional information on travel to Zimbabwe, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Zimbabwe, as well as the World Wide Caution Public Announcement, available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.