Zimbabwe must deliver free, fair and peaceful elections for the United Kingdom and the international community to support the country’s recovery, a British Minister told the House of Commons yesterday.
Minister of State Harriett Baldwin, who was in Zimbabwe in February, was asked about the relations between the British government and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
“The British Government welcomes President Mnangagwa’s commitment to political and economic reform,” she responded.
“As we have made clear, including in the Foreign Secretary’s meeting with Foreign Minister Moyo on 20 April, the Zimbabwe Government must deliver the free, fair and peaceful elections that the people of Zimbabwe deserve.
“Genuine reforms will enable the UK and the wider international community better to support Zimbabwe’s recovery.”
The question came at a time when some people are beginning to doubt whether Zimbabwe can hold peaceful elections following an explosion at White City Stadium in Bulawayo where Mnangagwa had been addressing a rally.
Two people died after the blast and 47 others were injured. Three of them are said to be in a critical condition.
Main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said the explosion showed that things could turn ugly.
Political analyst Derek Matyszak said the bombing could be the start of a general trend of violence.
Zimbabwe’s political parties today signed a peace pledge to have peaceful elections next month but the main contenders Mnangagwa and Chamisa did not attend the signing ceremony.
They sent representatives, instead.
It is not clear why they did not turn up for such an important event as this would have signalled their commitment to end violence.