The United Kingdom has called on all political parties in Zimbabwe to enter into genuine national dialogue.
Zimbabwe has been facing an economic crisis since last year’s elections which were won by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and its leader Emmerson Mnangagwa but the Movement for Democratic Change challenged the presidential election result and continues to argue that it won that election.
The MDC argues that the crisis that Zimbabwe is going through is not economic but political because Mnangagwa is not the legitimate leader of the country. It claims that its leader Nelson Chamisa won the elections but was rigged out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The MDC lost the election challenge case at the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land.
Zimbabwe’s main opposition, which launched its Roadmap to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness and Democracy last week, laid out five points that were necessary to move the country forward one of which was the return to legitimacy.
The MDC also calls for national dialogue but says this must be convened international adjudicators and must lead to a national transitional mechanism to pave way for fresh free and fair elections.
ZANU-PF and 17 other political parties have already started dialogue which is being convened by the chair of two commissions, the Peace and Reconciliation Commission and the Gender Commission.
It also insists that Mnangagwa can only enter into talks with Chamisa after the party recognises him as the country’s legitimate president.
Asked by Ruth Jones in the British Parliament yesterday what the UK’s assessment of the political situation in Zimbabwe was Minister of State Harriett Baldwin said there were some reforms such as the repeal of draconian laws like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act.
She however said that Zimbabwe remained one of the 30 countries that were on its human rights priority list.
“We continue to call for the Government of Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and human rights and promote free and fair elections, under the protection of the 2013 Constitution and international human rights law. We also call on all political parties to enter into a genuine national dialogue,” she said.
Other countries on the list are: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen.
Baldwin did not say anything about the attack on Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo in London last week though Harare says it has asked the UK embassy in Harare to explain why Moyo was not given adequate security.
Moyo was attacked by a group of protesters shouting “mbavha, mbavha” but this did not disrupt his tour.