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UK says it will not fund Mugabe regime… insists on reforms first

By Bridget Mananavire

The United Kingdom on Tuesday said it will veto any future International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to Zimbabwe until the southern African country improves its tainted human rights record.

Catriona Laing with Mnangagwa
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa shares a lighter moment with the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Catriona Laing when she paid a courtesy call at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare in May 2016. – (Picture by Believe Nyakudjara)

The UK, together with the United States, have a combined voting percentage of over 20 percent and can use it to veto any decision made by the IMF.

British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing, said although her government remained committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe to achieve a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future, it will not fund President Robert Mugabe’s regime.

“As we have repeatedly stated, economic reforms, while necessary, are not in themselves sufficient,” she said, adding that the Zanu PF-led government was responsible for upholding the rule of law and human rights, as defined both by the country’s Constitution and its obligations as a member of the international community.

“In their submissions at Lima and Lusaka, the government of Zimbabwe has reiterated its commitment to this task. Nevertheless, in recent weeks we have seen the emergence of concerning videos of police brutality, and attacks by the government on apparently peaceful social media-based movements.

“When combined with the on-going failure of the police to enforce court orders around illegal land invasions, this paints a worrying picture,” she said.

“No UK taxpayers’ money has been or will be used to fund the government of Zimbabwe. Any decision on future UK support for a multi-year IMF programme will be based on the considerations described above.”

This comes as the United States has also indicated that it will use its influence to prevent IMF’s premature opening of lines of credit to desperate Mugabe’s regime until it shows progress on respecting the rule of law and human rights.

In her statement, Laing said the UK government was looking forward to hearing how Zimbabwe intended to address the human rights concerns.

“The British Embassy in Harare will continue to meet with members of the executive, legislature, judiciary and civil society, from across the political spectrum,” further stating that the “meetings do not imply agreement with any particular policy position.

“We will, however, continue to encourage Zimbabweans of all political persuasions to exercise their democratic rights, under the protection of the 2013 Constitution and international human rights law.”

Britain, through its embassy, said it shall continue to support the country’s civil society activities to ensure that human rights advocacy continues.

Moreover, Laing said her government will also continue to support the country’s vulnerable groups affected by El-Nino through cash transfers and will also help reduce maternal deaths.

“The economic challenges that now face Zimbabwe are both significant and urgent,” she said. Daily News

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