This was said by a junior Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon in the House of Lords yesterday after he had been asked whether the British government will condemn Zimbabwe for using Covid to stop by –elections and the normal democratic process.
Zimbabwe has set aside $3.25 billion to hold the by-elections in the first quarter of next year.
There are 133 parliamentary and council seats to be filled.
Q & A:
Baroness Hoey Non-affiliated: My Lords, the rule of law must apply in a democratic country, along with the freedom of the press. That does not happen in Zimbabwe. Will the Minister and the Government condemn the fact that Covid is being deliberately used in many countries, particularly Zimbabwe, to stop by-elections and the normal democratic process?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office): My Lords, I absolutely condemn such actions. The use of the Covid pandemic as an excuse to suppress human rights and democratic rights around the world is all too apparent. That is why we need the kind of alliances that I have just talked about and that my right honourable friend illustrated in her recent speech. Specific to Zimbabwe, as the noble Baroness will be aware, we have also used our new, autonomous sanctions regime to ensure that those who commit egregious abuses of human rights are held to account.