from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare
HARARE – THE United Kingdom (UK) has inflamed its long running tiff with Zimbabwe.
The former colonial master expressed concern at the human rights situation in the Southern African country, saying there was “no notable improvement” between January and June 2021.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon gave an interim statement on the human rights situation in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO’s) so-called 31 human rights priority countries.
“We continued to be concerned by the pattern of harassment of prominent opposition and civil society figures, as well as journalists,” Ahmad said.
He is also the Minister for South Asia, the United Nations and the FCDO.
Ahmad said the government of the UK was yet to see accountability for the abduction and multiple arrests of opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) members, Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, as well as the repeated arrest of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Ahmad noted the UK announced autonomous sanctions to hold to account four security officials who according to his government were responsible for some of Zimbabwe’s worst human rights violations under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
“These restrictive measures are not targeted at, nor intended to impact, the wider economy and the people of Zimbabwe,” Ahmad said.
This is contrary to the version by Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, during her visit last month.
She urged the United States of America (USA) and some European nations to lift sanctions as they were hurting Zimbabwe’s economy.
Relations between UK and the former Rhodesia are strained after Zimbabwe repossessed land from mainly white farmers in 2000.
UK slapped sanctions citing human rights violations.
– CAJ News