British Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin, who is currently is Zimbabwe, has been saying all the right sounding words but is not spelling out the one condition President Emmerson Mnangagwa has to implement to get support from her country.
Britain is not just interested in talk, but in action on the ground.
The Minister who arrived in the country on Thursday has been quoted by the Herald as saying:
“I brought a message (from Prime Minister May) that the UK Government welcomes the messages we heard from the new President in terms of his programme for economic and political reforms and we are very pleased to hear that the plans are to hold free and fair elections in Zimbabwe later this year..
“Obviously, we share with the Government of Zimbabwe our desire for there to be a situation where there is no violence at all on the ground. We condemn all violence and we are keen to see that all perpetrators of any violent activities are pursued with the full force of the law….”
National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru was stoned on the very day she arrived.
Baldwin who met Mnangagwa yesterday said: “I had a good meeting with the President and I have been able to say to him how much the UK welcomes the statements that he has been making to the media around the world about the future for Zimbabwe, the economic reforms and the plans for the free and fair elections this year..
“We had wide ranging discussions about a range of other interests. The UK Government very much welcomes statements that have been made about land reform by the Government of Zimbabwe and we support a transparent and fair mediated process around that. So, it is something which is very important as a signal to international investors.”
But she did not add he crucial words she told the British Parliament on Thursday.
When asked by Stephen Gethins what discussions she had with her cabinet colleagues on political, security and economic relations with Zimbabwe following “the house arrest of Robert Mugabe”, she responded: “Zimbabwe was discussed at Cabinet on 28 November. Whilst we welcome the early indications emerging from President Mnangagwa on his intentions to implement a range of economic and political reforms, we will judge our support in relation to practical action on the ground.”
Ed: Because of questions about where I got Baldwin's comments, attached is the Q &A: