The United States announced a new visa restriction policy for Ugandan officials, including those it believes are responsible for undermining democracy and oppressing marginalized groups in Uganda, as well as a new visa restriction policy for Zimbabwean officials.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the visa restrictions, citing, among other things, the marginalization of groups such as Uganda's LGBT community and Zimbabwe's civil society advocates. Blinken's words made no mention of any officials.

PHOTO | COURTESY Antony Blinken

Uganda's anti-LGBTQ law, regarded as one of the worst in the world, was implemented in May and carries the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes HIV transmission through gay sex.

Following the law's enactment, the US State Department put visa restrictions on Ugandan officials in June. The State Department previously imposed visa restrictions on Ugandan politicians following the country's "flawed" elections in 2021.

PHOTO | COURTESY Antony Blinken

"Today, I am announcing the expansion of the visa restriction policy to include current or former Ugandan officials or others who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda or for policies or actions aimed at repressing members of marginalised or vulnerable populations," Blinken said in a press release on Monday.

"These groups include, but are not limited to, environmental activists, human rights defenders, journalists, LGBTQI+ persons, and civil society organisers."

Blinken also unveiled a new visa restriction policy for people he claims are illegal immigrants.

PHOTO | COURTESY Antony Blinken

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa won a second term in a controversial vote in August, which the opposition called a "gigantic fraud" and was criticized by election observers for failing to fulfill regional and international norms.

"Anyone who undermines the democratic process in Zimbabwe - including in the lead-up to, during, and following Zimbabwe's August 2023 elections - may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy," Blinken said.