Britain says ED’s regime is  a new driver in an old taxi

United Kingdom House of Commons  has said Zimbabwe will not be allowed to join the Commonwealth and sanctions should be extended to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration as they currently do not.

On Monday, MP Helen Goodman proposed that the UK should introduce a statutory instrument to regulate sanctions on Zimbabwe when Britain leaves the European Union.

The EU sanctions are currently on former President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.

Even though former military figures like VP Chiwenga and Minister Perrance Shiri are on the sanctions list, these continue to be suspended.

“We have only limited sanctions that relate only to President Mugabe and the defence industries. The purpose of the sanctions is to improve the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, but how can they possibly be effective given that Zimbabwe has a new government? “ Goodman asked.

“How can sanctions on a previous regime conceivably affect the new regime? That new regime has been described by some Zimbabweans as a new driver in an old taxi. The situation does not quite make sense.”

She was supported by Peter Grant who said the sanctions should apply to the present government.

“The hon. Lady may be aware that some of those widely believed to be responsible for human rights violations in Zimbabwe under the previous President are still closely associated with the new government,” Grant said.

“There is evidence that any of those individuals have committed serious violations of the human rights of UK citizens, who have been forced to flee Zimbabwe and come back to the UK as a result, they should also be subjected to sanctions, and that those sanctions should apply until such a time as the UK citizens have been given proper compensation through the courts?”

Goodman said Grant had made an excellent point.

“The hon. gentleman makes an excellent point. There has been a brutal crackdown on protests, with 2 354 violations of human rights, including 17 deaths and 17 rapes. I hope that the Minister will take that into account and tell us what precisely the Government will do to achieve change,” she said.

“The current position is that Zimbabwe will not be allowed to rejoin the Commonwealth until it improves its human rights record, but will the Minister please tell us the co-ordination mechanism with the African Union?” she added.

The motion was approved and goes to the House of Lords on 7 May.

Minister Alan Duncan Minister pointed out that the sanctions on Zimbabwe were not just on individuals but also covered an arms embargo and financial restrictions.

“The Zimbabwe sanctions regulations aim to encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to respect democratic principles, the rule of law and human rights, and to deter the repression of civil society,” he said.