Britain does not support any candidate or political party in Zimbabwe but it provides extensive financial and technical assistance to civil society organisations, Minister of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office Harriett Baldwin said yesterday.
She was responding to a question from David Linden who wanted to know what steps the British embassy in Harare was taking to assist civil society and opposition politicians in Zimbabwe.
“The UK provides extensive financial and technical assistance to civil society organisations in Zimbabwe who support Zimbabwean citizens in holding the state to account. We do not publicise our partners to avoid putting them at risk,” Baldwin said.
“The UK does not support any candidate or political party in Zimbabwe. We have made clear to the Government of Zimbabwe that opposition parties should be free to campaign peacefully.
“UK diplomats hold regular meetings with political leaders from all main parties. Our Ambassador last met with the main opposition The Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa on 16 January.”
Zimbabwe’s opposition has been under siege following January anti-government demonstrations during which up to 17 people were killed.
According to one of the legislators Tendai Biti, 12 opposition legislators have been arrested since August last year.