United Kingdom commends peaceful Zim elections

Zanu PF Secretary-General Cde Obert Mpofu (left) and British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Peter Vowles during a courtesy call in Harare yesterday.- Picture: Charles Muchakagara.

AS President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement foreign policy continues to bear fruit, the United Kingdom has pledged to strengthen relations and cooperation with Zimbabwe.

Britain has also commended Zimbabwe for holding peaceful elections and pledged to strengthen relations and cooperation with the country in various fields.

After meeting Zanu PF Secretary General Dr Obert Mpofu at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare yesterday, new British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Peter Vowles expressed his country’s readiness to scale-up relations with Zimbabwe on all fronts.

“My role is to strengthen relations with Zimbabwe. On the just ended general elections, we commended the peaceful nature of elections,” said Ambassador Vowles.

He said the two countries were looking to enhance existing cooperation in various sectors, adding that the issue of the unconditional removal of illegal economic sanctions would be discussed at Government level.

“We discussed a number of issues and welcomed his (Dr Mpofu) views on the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe relationship. We will also strengthen our relationship,” Ambassador Vowles said.

Dr Mpofu said in his engagements with the new British Ambassador, they discussed various issues to foster bilateral relations.

“We discussed several issues that we feel need attention from both parties to enhance our relationship,” he said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the UK have been fraught for decades after the latter instigated the illegal imposition of sanctions on the Southern African country for redressing colonial land inequities.

However, the advent of the Second Republic has led to a thaw in the frayed relations with the two countries now seeking enhanced cooperation, despite the continued presence of the unjust illegal economic sanctions.

 “We discussed quite a number of issues with the Ambassador. We spoke about issues that affect our relationships ranging from sanctions, debt clearance issues, re-joining the Commonwealth and general political and environmental issues,” said Dr Mpofu.

On sanctions, Dr Mpofu said they were being dealt with at Government level.

“It is very clear to us that the sanctions are aimed at slowing the development of our nation and stifling the economy of Zimbabwe. We also discussed the land reform programme which is the source of sanctions. The Ambassador said this is an issue under discussion with Government, but we told him that there has not been any change regarding sanctions. He feels there is something which is going on which we are not aware of. We were candid in our discussion with him and he also tried to deal with these issues in the best manner he could,” said Dr Mpofu.

Ambassador Vowles, who is fluent in Shona and Ndebele, spent a number of years working in Zimbabwe in the 1990s.

He lived in Mudzi where he was a teacher at Chifamba Secondary School, before stints in Murehwa, Bulawayo and Harare.


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