A British Member of Parliament, who was in Zimbabwe last month, has urged British Prime Minister Theresa May not to rush to agree that elections in Zimbabwe, due at the end of this month, were free and fair.
Kate Hoey, who was in Zimbabwe with Conor Burns, said while in Zimbabwe they had been told that elections due on 30 July would not be genuinely free and fair.
“The constitution is not being adhered to, and the main opposition do not have a chance to reach the state media,” she said.
“Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that our government will not rush to agree that this is a free and fair election until we have seen that it really means change, not just for the election?”
May responded that while her government welcomed the elections, it urged all parties involved to pursue free, fair and peaceful elections because that is what the people of Zimbabwe deserve.
“We will certainly watch very carefully to see how those elections are conducted, and consider the conduct of those elections as appropriate,” she said.
“We have repeatedly said that if the Zimbabwean government can demonstrate commitment to political and economic reform the UK stands ready to do all that it can to support recovery, but that commitment is essential.”
Britain has been accused of having a soft spot for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and is likely to pass a clean bill on the elections so that Zimbabwe can re-engage with the international community.
The British government has already approved a $100 million business loan for Zimbabwe to be channeled through Standard Chartered Bank.
British academic and political commentator Stephen Chan said that Zimbabwe is having one of the cleanest elections in years.
The only dent was a grenade blast at White City Stadium in Bulawayo which narrowly missed Mnangagwa but he quickly dismissed the incident saying it will not stop the elections.
Main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said the blast might lead to a clamp down on the opposition but nothing of the sort has happened so far.