|Britain pledges to fund Zim election road map|
|Thursday, 07 April 2011 22:48|
Britain is ready to provide funding for the roadmap to Zimbabwe's elections and is working with the Southern African Development Community in that regard, the British Parliament heard this week.
British Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Lord David Howell and Government Whip and Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office (International Development and Equalities and Women's Issues), Baroness Verma, told the House of Lords on Tuesday that London stood ready to fund the roadmap.
"The (British) government recognises the Southern African Development Community's important role as the guarantors of Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement and we endorse its current efforts to create a roadmap leading to credible and properly monitored elections. We also continue to look for ways of using UK funding to strengthen regional forums to increase pressure for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, for example through civil society," said Baroness Verma.
Lord Howell added:
"It is clear that effective election monitoring will be critical if there is to be no repeat of the violence and irregularities of the 2008 elections. We are working with international partners, particularly the Southern African Development Community, to support their efforts to create an election roadmap leading to credible and properly monitored elections.
"The UK stands ready to assist in any election monitoring effort, including through multilateral partners such as the EU or Commonwealth. However, any such efforts would have to be in response to an invitation by the Government of Zimbabwe."
The two officials were responding to questions from Lord Chidgey who wanted to know whether the European Union would deploy international observers to monitor the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe and the support London was giving to Sadc to ensure the polls were free and fair.
The British indication to be involved in the elections came four days after the Sadc Troika summit in Livingstone Zambia, which called for a roadmap for elections in Zimbabwe.
Sadc is reportedly planning to set up a special group to draw a roadmap for elections in Zimbabwe.
The Sadc resolution followed intense lobbying by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T to delay elections, which President Mugabe has said could be held this year, until a roadmap for the polls is crafted.
Mr Tsvangirai left Harare yesterday for Angola and Lesotho to continue lobbying the Sadc region.
Before last week's Livingstone summit he met the leaders of Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC also supports the delay of the polls.
But Zanu-PF is arguing that the Global Political Agreement, which brought the three parties together in the inclusive government in 2009, is the roadmap itself.
It was not clear yesterday why Britain wants to get involved in the roadmap as negotiators from Zanu-PF and the two MDCs began talks on Monday to review the GPA and draft a roadmap for the elections.
It is understood the negotiators finished reviewing the GPA on Monday and by Wednesday had come up with a draft roadmap aligned to the GPA guidelines.
The negotiators are expected to present the draft to their principals who will then meet to discuss it.
The principals might amend the draft before presenting the final document to the Sadc facilitator on Zimbabwe, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
President Zuma will present the roadmap to the Troika for submission to Sadc.