By Paidashe Mandivengerei
A BRITISH parliamentarian has called on the international community to suspend re-engagement with Zimbabwe and urged the imposition of a travel ban on President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday, Kate Hoey, chair of the UK all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, said the international community should re-consider engaging the Mnangagwa regime.
She said there was need for action after the Zanu PF government used lethal force in a deadly crackdown against Zimbabweans protesting against economic hardships.
“We can’t ignore what is happening in Zimbabwe,” said Labour’s Vauxhall Legislator.
Mnangagwa took over from veteran leader Robert Mugabe after the latter was toppled by a military coup in November 2017.
A long-time protégé of Mugabe, Mnangagwa vowed a new dispensation, committing to revive the country’s virtually collapsed economy, open the democratic space and re-engage with the international community.
However, the disputed July 30 elections were followed by a deadly crackdown against protestors which left six people dead.
And barely six months later, the new government unleashed lethal force against civilians protesting against economic hardships resulting in at least 12 people being shot dead, dozens injured, and being hundreds arrested.
“The international community should suspend any initiatives relating to reengagement with the Zimbabwean government,” said Hoey.
It is unacceptable in my view to be even talking about debt restructuring and private sector investment while so many Zimbabwean civilians are being assaulted and killed.”
She said the Harare government should immediately remove soldiers from the streets.
“We are calling for the end of the deployment of the military, they have to go back into their barracks.
“We have to get the United nations to make a very strong statement on the rule of law.
“We need to call for an independent investigation of the human rights violation to be led by African Union or United Nations.
We have to get to who gave the orders it was the same with the people killed after the elections where we never got to the bottom of who gave the army orders.”
Regional power brokers such as South Africa also need to do more.
“We have to use our position where we can to influence and work with the South African government, the Botswana government,” said Hoey.
“We have to ask the South African government to really engage, they need to realise how important they are and act in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.”
The British parliamentarian also suggested the imposition of a travel ban on Mnangagwa saying it as unacceptable that the Zimbabwean leader hired a luxury plane for his recent Eurasian trip while hospitals back home were going without basic medicines.
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