Lord Oates Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change): I thank the Minister for his reply. Is he aware that, at a ZANU-PF rally on 27 February, Vice-president Chiwenga said of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change,
“you see how we crush lice … You put it on a flat stone and then flatten it to the extent that even flies will not make a meal out of it. That is what we are going to do to CCC.”
The following day, a CCC rally was attacked with iron bars, machetes and spears. One opposition supporter was killed and many more were hospitalised. Will the Government condemn the vice-president’s violent incitement and work with the international community to hold the Zimbabwean Government accountable for the safety and security of all Zimbabweans, who should have the right to freely elect their leaders without fear of violence or intimidation?
The Earl of Courtown Captain of the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords): My Lords, I thank the noble Lord. I agree that such language, inciting political violence, has no place in any country, including Zimbabwe. We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to live up to their constitution in ensuring that all political parties are allowed to operate and campaign without harassment. As our ambassador publicly stated after the death of a CCC supporter at the rally on 27 February, we urge the police to fully investigate any acts of political violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Lord Bellingham Conservative: My Lords, given that the Russian Government have been heavily investing in the Zimbabwean economy, and also bankrolling ZANU-PF, what assessment have Ministers made about the fact that Russia is now a pariah state?
The Earl of Courtown Captain of the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords): My Lords, I am glad my noble friend has brought that to the attention of the House. We were particularly disappointed to see that Zimbabwe abstained during the UNGA vote on Ukraine. We call all states to push for a ceasefire and urge de- escalation. It is also important that it is up to the Zimbabweans themselves to make many of these decisions.
Lord Trefgarne Chair, SLSC Sub-Committee A, Chair, SLSC Sub-Committee A: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that the Minister who originally agreed in your Lordships’ House to the signature by the Patriotic Front, and announced it to your Lordships, was me, and that the senior official in the official Box on that occasion was the then Mr Charles Powell, now, of course, the noble Lord, Lord Powell?
The Earl of Courtown Captain of the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords): I must admit that I was not aware of that. My noble friend is, I think, referring to the Lancaster House Agreement, which was a very important agreement in the formation of Zimbabwe.
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