The United Kingdom says that it will not back Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance appeals with the international community after the government’s brutal crackdown on citizens during the January protests triggered by a fuel price hike.
While answering questions before the UK International Development Committee, Minister for African Affairs Harriet Baldwin said:
There needs to progress in terms of the arrears that Zimbabwe has to international financial institutions, and the recent violence from State actors makes it very difficult for me personally to try and argue that this is the time for the UK to be stepping up to the plate working with international partners to do this.
The idea that we would step up to the plate and say ‘look guys, the government is doing this to its own citizens, shooting them with live ammunition, a range of other egregious violations, and you know what, the UK is really happy to argue that now is the time for them to be helped with their international arrears’; you may push back on this, but I find that a very difficult political case to make.
We will listen to that plan, but as the UK government’s minister for Africa, I cannot say that now is the time for us to really be sticking our necks out politically on the back of the kind of behaviour that we’ve seen from the government.
Baldwin also said that the British government should maintain targeted sanctions on individuals while looking at including other names on the sanctions list.