Source: UK demands free, fair elections in Zimbabwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 18, 2017
BRITAIN has demanded free and fair elections in Zimbabwe to resolve the current political standoff between President Robert Mugabe and the military.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
During debate on an urgent motion on the situation in Zimbabwe in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Labour Party MP Alison McGovern asked Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to explain the practical steps that the United Kingdom will be taking to ensure that there are free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, especially in respect of the participation of international bodies that can guarantee the security and democracy of those elections.
“Clearly, there is a great opportunity here for the international community to come together, perhaps under the United Nations auspices, to ensure there are free and fair elections,” Johnson replied.
“We will be making sure the UK government is in the lead, as we would expect, in ensuring that the people of Zimbabwe have that opportunity.”
Conservative Party MP James Duddridge asked: “While it would be tempting to rush towards a government of national unity to provide stability, will the Foreign Secretary advise caution? We should see through the Zanu PF conference planned for December. Elections have been planned for August, but there has already been talk about bringing them forward to February and March. It is important that those elections take place, that Zanu PF goes through a proper process, and that they are multi-party elections, to make sure that there is the stability required to move forward.”
Johnson replied: “The message I am trying to get over to the House this afternoon is that we should not jump the gun; we should not jump to conclusions about exactly how things are going to turn out in the course of the next few days, or even hours.”
Sir Henry Bellingham, an MP from the Conservative Party, then asked Johnson to explain if what is happening in Zimbabwe could be the beginning of the end of one of the most flawed regimes the world has ever seen.
“What is going to be done to try to recover the many billions of dollars stolen by Mugabe and his cronies?” Sir Bellingham asked Johnson.
The Foreign Secretary said the first priority is free and fair elections, followed by fixing of the economy.
“The first priority is free and fair elections, and then to get the Zimbabwean economy back on its feet so that the great natural potential of that country can be unleashed. That should, I am afraid, come before any attempt to take back huge sums from a country that is already in the throes of bankruptcy”.