British lord asks whether UK has ever thought of recolonising Zimbabwe because of what is going on


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Zimbabwe yesterday became a subject of debate in the Britain’s House of Lords following the recent violence and crackdown with one peer even asking whether Britain had thought of recolonising the country because of what was going on.

Below is the full debate:

Asked by Lord Hayward

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the reports of serious violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe.

Lord Hayward Conservative

My Lords, I beg leave to ask a Question of which I have given private notice.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

My Lords, we condemn totally the violent behaviour of some protesters and we are deeply concerned that Zimbabwe’s security forces acted completely disproportionately in their response to the protests. There are also disturbing reports of security forces using live ammunition and partaking in indiscriminate arrests.

On 17 January, my honourable friend the Minister of State for Africa summoned the Zimbabwean ambassador. She urged the Zimbabwean Government to stop the disproportionate use of force, reinstate access to the internet and investigate any alleged human rights abuses.

Lord Hayward Conservative

I thank my noble friend for that Answer. I particularly welcome the fact that the Foreign Office and the Minister of State for Africa took prompt action in summoning the Zimbabwean ambassador for discussions on the subject. Will my noble friend clarify whether there have been any discussions with SADC, the African Union or similar organisations to put pressure on the Zimbabwean Government to end all these actions? Is it not clear that a Government who are willing to shoot their own subjects, in most cases apparently for no reason whatever, should not be a member of the Commonwealth?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

My Lords, I assure my noble friend that we are working very closely with international partners—he mentioned SADC and the African Union—and in particular with South Africa, to urge the Government in Zimbabwe to stop their disproportionate use of force and reinstate the internet, which I understand has been reinstated in part today.

In terms of further work in this respect, my honourable friend the Minister for Africa will also attend the EU-AU ministerial in Brussels today and tomorrow afternoon, which will discuss Zimbabwe in particular. On the issue of the Commonwealth, as Minister for the Commonwealth, I say that we all subscribe to the values of the Commonwealth—of ensuring pluralist democracy and the upholding of human rights. Many saw during the Commonwealth summit the Government’s commitment to encourage among other partners the new Zimbabwe to come forward for membership. Clearly, the events that have unfolded recently put that into question—but of course, it is a matter not for the UK but for the Commonwealth as a whole.

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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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