Britain keeps a close eye

Britain is keeping a close eye on events in Zimbabwe following a disputed election outcome before it can determine the future of their relations with the country.

Zanu (PF) cruised to an overwhelming victory in the elections with President Robert Mugabe garnering 61 percent against his arch rival, Morgan Tsvangirai’s 34 percent. The MDC-T leader has, however, described the election as seriously flawed and has launched an application with the Constitutional Court to have the outcome of the poll declared null and void.

Tsvangirai says that fresh elections should be called within 60 days. In the application, the MDC-T leader said the elections were characterised by a series of irregularities including vote rigging, electoral bribery, abuse of the special voting system, intimidation of voters and the issue of fake voter registration slips given to Zanu (PF) supporters.

Britain’s deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Brown, told The Zimbabwean that the outcome of the court case was critical for his country to map the way forward in terms of Britain’s relations with Zimbabwe.

Britain, the United States and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 following a series of human rights violations and have declared that a credible election is a pre-requisite for the removal of the measures.

“We will need to examine the outcome of any court cases and the final election reports from regional and local observer missions before commenting on the future course of UK-Zimbabwe relations. As we have always done, we will continue to support the people of Zimbabwe,” said Brown.

Following the announcement of the election results, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, expressed “grave concerns” over the manner in which the elections were conducted.

“We are deeply concerned that a number of important reforms contained in the Global Political Agreement and endorsed by SADC were not completed before the poll, despite being clearly highlighted by SADC at their Maputo summit on June 15. We are also concerned with irregularities reported on the day,” said Hague.

Zanu (PF) has dismissed Britain’s verdict on the election saying its victory is a major blow to the country and its Western allies.

In June, United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, told The Zimbabwean that his country was waiting to see a free, fair, credible and transparent election in Zimbabwe. He said the implementation of reforms agreed under the GPA was critical in ensuring democratic elections.

Australia has demanded a re-run of the election saying it was deeply flawed.

Post published in: News
  1. Sid Robbins

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