The British government has advised President Emmerson Mnangagwa to bring to account perpetrators of human rights violations in the country for support to be forthcoming.
Addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday, UK Minister of Africa Andrew Stephenson said:
We are gravely concerned at the heavy-handed response to protests in Harare on August 16 and the recent arrest and abductions of opposition figures.
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President Mnangagwa must hold to account those responsible for human rights violations. We have made our position clear to the Zimbabwe government that UK support depends on fundamental political and economic reform. Zimbabwe must now translate its commitment into actions.
Meanwhile, British MP, Sir Nicholas Soames, son to Zimbabwe- Rhodesia’s former Governor, Lord Soames, described President Mnangagwa’s allies as “a gang of thugs”. He said:
Does my honourable friend agree that President Mnangagwa and his administration have been a grave disappointment to this country and, indeed, to their own countrymen?
Does he, nevertheless, also agree that the aid we give to Zimbabwe, particularly the DFID aid that goes into education, is absolutely vital and plays an extraordinarily good role in Zimbabwean education?
Will he assure me that at the same time as keeping up the pressure on human rights and making absolutely clear our horror at the behaviour of President Mnangagwa and his gang of thugs, we will continue to support the education system in Zimbabwe?
The country has recently experienced a wave of abductions of opposition party activists, human rights defenders, trade union leaders and comedians by masked gunmen.
The government has accused the victims, who in most cases were battered and left with serious injuries, of faking the abductions.