Britain will not take lead in driving change in Zimbabwe

Lord Malloch Brown, British Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN said Zimbabwe is a "broken state" and it is not up to Britain to "take the lead" in driving change in that country.

Speaking at the Royal African Society Autumn Reception in London, Malloch Brown said engaging with Zimbabwe was made difficult given its history with that country and that its efforts now were focused on identifying others who could “lead” the way in helping Zimbabwe return to some form of normality.

Malloch Brown, in a thinly veiled criticism of South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, revealed that, so far, efforts have fallen short of any real progress towards finding a solution.

“We all have our frustrations with the slow progress of the Mbeki-led talks,” Malloch Brown said. 

Malloch Brown confirmed that Britain was not prepared to sit (at the EU-Africa summit due to be held on December 8-9 in Lisbon) with a leader ” who has led his country into a disastrous melt-down.”

The minister for Africa, Asia and the UN said that Britain recognises that others will take the lead to drive change in Zimbabwe and the southern Africa region. He confirmed that while Britain will not be playing a leading role in forcing through change in Zimbabwe right now, that the British government will be ready to help “when transition comes, when there are free elections, when there is a free press.

“When these conditions are met and the prospect for economic recovery is clear, we (the British government) have made it clear that we will be extremely generous donors,” Malloch Brown said.

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