Govt: British election result immaterial

via Govt: British election result immaterial – New Zimbabwe 10/05/2015

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s government is not concerned about the outcome of the May 7 British elections which restored the Conservatives rule, a top government official has said.

Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha told that Harare was merely watching events in Britain only as a news item playing out on the international scene.

“We are only interested in knowing who becomes the next leader, just like what we would do in any other country,” Bimha said when asked if the Zimbabwean government was hoping for any change in the rich democracy’s governors.

“Why should we be interested in a British election? Of course like any other election, we want to see who wins and who loses; as a news item and nothing else.”

Zimbabwe, in 2000, fell out with its former colonial master after President Mugabe seized land from white locals of mostly British descent for redistribution among the blacks.

Following the diplomatic tiff, relations got worse with London and the rest of the Western nations accusing the Mugabe regime of a series of human rights abuses.

This eventually led to the imposition of an asset freeze and a travel ban on President Mugabe and his inner circle by the US and Europe.

Mugabe, who is on record saying he preferred the conservatives ahead of the Labour party, has used nearly every local and international platform to denounce the sanctions and berate former British premier Tony Blair for the embargo.

Mugabe accused Blair of reneging on a pledge by conservative premier Margaret Thatcher to pay compensation for white owned land which was earmarked for redistribution under Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.

Since then, Mugabe’s government has watched in frustration as successive British leaders have emerged to maintain the status quo.

Zanu PF routinely blames London for allegedly trying to impose “illegal” regime change through sponsoring the opposition and perceivably hostile non-governmental organisations.

For all these, Bimha said Harare was noncommittal about who wakes up
jingling the keys at Number 10 Downing Street.

He said this was partly because none of the candidates who were vying for premiership had revealed any specific foreign policy they intended to practice on Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe was not an issue in their election so there is no way we can gauge whether they have any preference for any party or whatever; they were pursuing internal issues and issues that are peculiar to Europe.

“In fact, the economy, immigration and membership to the European Union were issues in their election. Zimbabwe was not an issue. Since it was not an issue, it is not possible for us to gauge what the different parties think about Zimbabwe.”

Bimha admitted there were no immediate prospects of a thaw in the bitter relations between the former allies despite past mutual efforts to extend the olive branch.

He added: “All l can say is that we are not engaging with them politically but in business there have been moves to engage. Politically, as I say, there is nothing that has been happening really.”