BY LLOYD TAKAWIRA
Following a meeting between Vice President Rt Gen Constaine Guvheya Chiwenga and British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melaine Robinson yesterday in Harare. The UK expressed displeasure at the slow pace Harare is implementing genuine reforms.
Addressing the media ambassador Melanie Robinson yesterday said told Vice President Chiwenga that Britain was gravely concerned with the slow pace of reforms in Zimbabwe.
“I did express concern about some of the backward steps we have seen on the reforms in the past two years and asked him to see what he could take on that,” she said.
Robinson also talked on Zimbabwe joining the Commonwealth to which she said
“We discussed the Commonwealth and I said from the beginning, the UK was very clear. We would like to see Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth and at the point that the economic and political reform program of the government has been completed.
“Until we have seen good progress at that, and then that will be the time to look at membership. We are currently some way away from that, but we look forward into the future to see these reforms underway to be able to discuss Commonwealth membership,” said the ambassador.
“I also had the opportunity to say to the Vice-President, they (United Kingdom) want to see Zimbabwe succeed. We want to see it on a path to a more prosperous and peaceful future. For us, it means pursuing reforms with vigour, these are political and economic reforms,” she added.
“We had a chance to talk about the humanitarian situation in the country and our concern that there are some people who are food insecure, there are people struggling with health and education. As the UK, we are providing £49 million for the food situation and an additional £5 million to prevent cholera outbreak,” she said.
“We were able to talk about what we are doing and asked the Vice-President to share information about what government is doing. He said he is very concerned about the situation in a practical way and is prepared to meet with us in the coming days to share that information,” Robinson said.
Over the past months Britain has been expressing strong reservations over Harare’s deteriorating human rights situation.
However the government has always been accusing the former colonizer Britain of meddling in its internal politics and pushing a regime-change agenda a claim vigorously refuted by Britain.
PURSUE REFORMS WITH VIGOR – UK ENVOY
BY LLOYD TAKAWIRA