from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE latest outbreak of political violence in Zimbabwe threatens to widen the diplomatic rift with the United Kingdom (UK).
Relations between the African country and former coloniser have been strained for most of the last two decades and are again tense as conflict engulfs Zimbabwe ahead of elections in 2023.
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) is blamed for the violations, which have peaked in recent weeks since the formation of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), led by Nelson Chamisa.
Rita French, UK Global Ambassador for Human Rights, mentioned Zimbabwe alongside currently volatile countries as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Russia, Uganda and Vietnam.
“In Zimbabwe, the harassment of the political opposition, restrictions on freedom of assembly, and constraints on civic space continue,” French said.
The envoy urged the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene.
“We call on Zimbabwe to hold individuals responsible for human rights violations accountable and to ensure free and fair elections,” she said.
By-elections are scheduled for the end of this month.
General polls are to be held in 2023. They are projected to be, again, a two-horse race between Mnangagwa and Chamisa.
Relations between the UK and Zimbabwe have been fractious since 2000 when the latter repossessed land owned mainly by white farmers.
The UK slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions, citing a breakdown in the rule of law and electoral fraud.
Zimbabwe alleges a regime change agenda by the former coloniser.
– CAJ News