UK commends Harare over peaceful elections

The United Kingdom (UK) yesterday commended Zimbabweans for recently conducting peaceful harmonised elections in which the ruling party’s Zanu PF candidate President Mnangagwa emerged victorious.

As engagement and re-engagement continues to bear fruit, Britain said it would continue to deepen relations with Harare discussing freely and openly issues, both where the two agree and when they disagree.

Speaking after meeting President Mnangagwa at State House yesterday, outgoing British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms Melanie Robinson, said they had a good opportunity to talk about the past elections.

“We talked about the elections that have just passed. I commended the people of Zimbabwe for the patience and resilience they showed when polling stations were opening late and also the peaceful way in which they conducted themselves during elections,” he said.

Ms Robinson said they also talked about re-engagement and she reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to seeing the country succeed.

“To see Zimbabwe, continue to go down that path to be more peaceful, prosperous, democratic and a desire for the UK to walk down that path with Zimbabwe.

“We reflected on some of the opportunities we have had in the last five years to make progress. The openness with which we have discussed issues where there were problems, I thank the President for that,” she said. 

Ms Robinson said the attendance of President Mnangagwa to the coronation of King Charles III was a clear sign that the UK is warming up to Zimbabwe.

“I do think it also shows that as the UK, we want to have dialogue. We want to talk where we disagree, we want to be able to discuss that openly and freely. Where we agree we also do the same. It was a signal of our desire for that dialogue and to continue the dialogue,” she said.

Ms Robinson said she had the opportunity to raise some of the concerns that were raised by some observer missions including transparency of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

“I also talked about the importance of now going forward, Constitutional processes with inclusive dialogue and with restraint over the days and weeks to come,” she said.

Ms Robinson, who described her experience in Zimbabwe as fantastic said she will take a sabbatical from government duties for a few years as she is heading to Kenya taking a new role as head of Global Climate team.

She has been the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe since January 2019.

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