Zimbabwe’s former colonial master Britain is working to ensure that the southern African nation has free and fair elections next year, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Tobias Ellwood, said on Wednesday.
Tobias said that “the British government's 2015 manifesto included a commitment to stand up for the rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe”.
Responding to a question by Democratic Unionist Party spokesman for Health, transport and Equality, Jim Shannon on what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was doing to help esure free and fir elections in Zimbabwe, Tobias said: “Ahead of the 2018 elections, it is essential that reforms are made to the Zimbabwean electoral system, including strengthening the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and removal of unconstitutional legislation which restricts democratic activity and human rights.
“With the Department for International Development, the FCO is working through a multi-donor programme to improve access to justice, media and information freedom and to improve the electoral environment in advance of the 2018 elections.
“Officials remain in close contact with international partners, including the UN, to co-ordinate support in the run up to the 2018 elections.”
Zimbabwe has already warned foreigners from meddling in its affairs especially after criticism on why it is fielding 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe as its candidate for the presidential elections.
Mugabe has said he will stand because there is no suitable replacement yet.
A former youth chairman who argued that Mugabe should step down to give way to his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa because he is too old is currently before the courts charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government or alternatively undermining the authority of President Mugabe.
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