THE British government has expressed optimism about Zimbabwe’s political future, but urged President Emerson Mnangagwa’s new government to accelerate the rate of implementing reforms to ensure free and fair elections.
By Everson Mushava
Zimbabwe is due for elections later this year, the first without former President Robert Mugabe who resigned under pressure from the military last November.
The removal of Mugabe opened up fresh lines of communication between Zimbabwe and the West, whose relationship had severed over time due to the former leader’s alleged propensity for electoral fraud and human rights abuses.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is leading a Zimbabwean delegation to the United Kingdom for engagement under Mnangagwa’s new theme, “Zimbabwe is open for business.”
After meeting Chinamasa, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson took to microblogging site Twitter to express his hope in the future of Zimbabwe, but emphasised the need for free and fair elections.
“Good to welcome Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe’s Special Envoy to the UK, to @ForeignOffice today. Great hope and optimism for Zimbabwe’s future, we discussed need for free and fair elections this year and opportunities ahead of us,” Johnson tweeted on Monday.
The UK was one of the leading countries to endorse the new dispensation ushered in by the military operation and have disclosed its desire to readmit Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth.
Zimbabwe has been a member of the Commonwealth since attainment of independence in 1980 but was suspended in 2002 after flawed elections.
In 2003, Mugabe withdrew the country from the body after the country’s suspension was extended and has been out for the past 16 years that Mugabe has been at the helm after 2002.
Mnangagwa has repeatedly told the international community that he will deliver a free and fair poll.