Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Zimbabwe’S political leaders should reject violence, observe the rule of law and focus on moving the country forward, a top British government official has said.
Britain is also ready to play a role in support of Zimbabwe’s recovery in line with Harare’s reform agenda.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said this on Monday in the United Kingdom’s House of Lords in response to a written question by The Marquess of Lothian.
The Marquess wanted to know Her Majesty’s government’s assessment of the current political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.
The British government’s calls for Zimbabwe’s politicians to desist from fanning violence, put the national interest first and allow the country to move on come at a time when the opposition MDC-Alliance is planning to hold demonstrations today ostensibly to protest against the prevailing economic conditions.
Previous demonstrations by the opposition party have resulted in violence and disregard of the rule of law.
Mr Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the outfit, has been widely criticised for seeking to use demonstrations and rallies to achieve political goals that he failed to achieve during last July’s elections.
In the elections, MDC Alliance lost by almost two-thirds, while Mr Chamisa himself lost the presidential contest to President Mnangagwa.
The Constitutional Court – the highest court in the land – declared the elections free and fair, but Mr Chamisa continues to dispute the outcome and refuses to recognise President Mnangagwa.
Lord Ahmad noted that Zimbabwe had held internationally observed elections and was seeking to build much-needed confidence in its democratic process.
“It is vital that Zimbabwe’s political leaders focus on moving the country forward, with all parties rejecting violence, upholding the rule of law, and putting the best interests of the country first,” said Lord Ahmad, a Conservative life peer.
He said Britain was ready to assist Zimbabwe out of its present challenges.
“Zimbabwe faces its most serious economic situation since 2008, with simultaneous cash, liquidity and fiscal crises,” said Lord Ahmad. “The UK stands ready to play a role in support of Zimbabwe’s recovery, but this must be on the basis of genuine political and economic reforms.”
Government yesterday welcomed the indication from London and said it would continue on the path of reform as that was the cornerstone of President Mnangagwa’s administration.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana welcomed Britain’s readiness to work with Zimbabwe, underscoring that the Southern African nation was firmly pursuing reforms with the goal of reintegrating Zimbabwe into the international community.
“The Second Republic led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, since November 2017, has set out on socio-political-economic reform agenda, which sets it apart from the previous administration,” Mr Mangwana told The Herald yesterday.
He said the July 30 harmonised elections were peaceful, free, fair and transparent.
“To show his commitment to the reform process in the post-election period following the unfortunate violent disturbances of 1 August 2018, which resulted in the death of six people and destruction of property, President Mnangagwa appointed an independent commission chaired by former South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe, to investigate the disturbances,” said Mr Mangwana.
“The Motlanthe Commission is comprised of a mix of various eminent persons from South Africa, the UK, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The President has not spared a cent to ensure that the Commission unravels what happened on the day in question, and as a listening President, he will implement recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission.”
The Government spokesperson said apart from opening up democratic space, Government, through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and the 2019 National Budget has shown considerable commitment to ensuring the realisation of economic and political reform.
“At this rate, there is no doubt that Zimbabwe is vigorously pursuing a reformist agenda, which is aimed at re-integrating Zimbabwe into the community of nations, opening up democratic space, developing the country’s economy and healing the wounds of past conflict,” said Mr Mangwana.