By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE United Kingdom has maintained its pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to ensure the full realisation of human rights as well as end rampant corruption within government corridors.
This came out when visiting British envoy, Harriet Matthews met the Zimbabwean leader at his Munhumutapa offices, Harare Wednesday.
Speaking to journalists soon after emerging from the meeting, Matthews, who is also director for Africa in Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said she was in the country to assess the situation on the ground.
She impressed upon Mnangagwa and his administration to move a gear up in the fight against corruption and the improvement on its human rights record.
“After conversations with His Excellency, candid, open conversations with senior leaders of the opposition, civil society with women’s groups, we went to Epworth, we met with development partners and we have really tried to get sense of what was happening on the ground in Zimbabwe,” Mathew told journalists.
“So, the first thing is a call for a real step change, a step up in reforms and in particular on human rights and on corruption.
“The second I want to stress is that, the UK is a very close friend of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean people and we want the country and the people to succeed.
“And one of the things that we have seen here and very much concerned about is deteriorating humanitarian situation.
“So, the UK is going to step up its work in that area and obviously we also are calling for the government to step up its response to that situation.”
Foreign Affairs secretary, James Manzou said the envoy’s visit was an indication of the continued re-engagement between Zimbabwe and UK.
“Such re-engagement is very important because it helps both sides understand one another…we value the special visit,” he said.
“We also value the support that the British have given to us in terms of humanitarian assistance through DIFD project and this is something that has continued despite the differences we have had with the British over the years.
“As for the humanitarian situation, you are very well aware that this arises from two consecutive years of drought across the country and also on top of that, we had in March Cyclone Idai and the government is doing its part to make sure that no one starves.”