Britain says Zimbabwe’s military should stay out of politics


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Britain said yesterday Zimbabwe’s military should stay out of politics and should not interfere in the election process. This was said in the House of Commons by under-secretary of State for Africa and the United Nation Henry Bellingham.

He had been asked by Democratic Unionist Party Member of Parliament Gregory Campbell whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will raise with Zimbabwe’s neighbours the recent statement by Bridagier Douglas Nyikayaramba that the military and the ruling party are inseparable.

Bellingham said statements such as those were very concerning.

“For Zimbabwe to make progress and move forward as a democratic country, it is vital that the military stays independent of all political parties and does not interfere in an impartial election process,” he said.

“However, we do not intend to raise this issue further with regional states at this time. We were encouraged by the communiqué following the recent Southern African Development Community summit in Sandton, which re-emphasised the importance of free and fair elections under conditions of a level playing field.

“As guarantor of the Global Political Agreement, SADC has an important role to play in helping Zimbabwe to make progress towards such elections. We will continue to do all we can to support that role.”

Zimbabwe has not announced the date for elections yet but the military has been accused of taking a hard line to ensure that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front remains in power.

There is a belief that the military is doing so because it wants to protect its own interests as some officers could face prosecution for human rights violations.

But at the moment Zimbabwean leaders cannot be taken to The Hague because Zimbabwe is not a signatory of the Rome Statutes.

Britain has also admitted that it is funding Zimbabwe’s military despite its alleged human rights violations and political stance.

(13 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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