By A Correspondent-The United Kingdom (UK) has said Zimbabwe will not be readmitted into the Commonwealth until the country upholds democracy and the rule of law.
In its Human Rights Priority Countries’ ministerial statement for the period January to June 2021 published on Tuesday, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said:
We remain concerned by the human rights situation in Zimbabwe with no notable improvement between January and June 2021.
We continue to be concerned by the pattern of harassment of prominent opposition and civil society figures, as well as journalists.
We were yet to see accountability for the abduction and multiple arrests of opposition MDC Alliance members Joana Mamombe MP, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is accused of abusing State institutions such as security services to ruthlessly clamp down on critics and the courts to jail protestors for lengthy periods without conviction.
Several prominent government critics and opposition leaders were arrested in the first half of this year for organising protests or posting critical comments on social media.
In February this year, the UK slapped sanctions on four Zimbabwean security chiefs for alleged human rights violations. The new report says:
These restrictive measures are not targeted at, nor intended to impact, the wider economy and the people of Zimbabwe.
In the first half of 2021, the UK continued to support civil society in Zimbabwe to hold the government to account.
Responding to questions on Tuesday about what London was doing to solve the crisis in its former colony, Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, UK minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said they regularly urge the Government of Zimbabwe to uphold its constitution.