A British Member of Parliament, Kate Hoey, this week asked Foreign and Commonwealth Minister Rory Stewart to spend British aid to Zimbabwe on voter education because President Robert Mugabe was refusing to implement the 2013 constitution.
Instead, she said, Mugabe spent $53 million on foreign travel last year alone.
Stewart said the British government was trying to balance the terrible performance of Mugabe with the fact that Zimbabweans were dying of cholera and suffering extreme humanitarian need.
He agreed that focusing on free and fair elections was one of the most important things Britain could do in a country such as Zimbabwe.
Asked by another legislator whether he intended to visit Zimbabwe as engagement with Harare was the best policy, Stewart said he would if there was genuine reform in Zimbabwe.
Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall – What recent assessment he has made of the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.
Rory Stewart Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development), Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)- I pay tribute to the hon. Lady’s long campaign on this subject. Our policy on Zimbabwe continues to be to try to balance our deep distaste at the horrifying record of the Mugabe regime with a genuine concern for the humanitarian needs of the Zimbabwean people, who have suffered terribly over the past 40 years.
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