This was said by Minister of State (Commonwealth and the United Nations) Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon during the debate on Zimbabwe sanctions in the Upper House post Brexit.
The sanctions debate went through the House of Commons last week.
Lord Ahmad said Zimbabwe was among the United Kingdom’s 30 human rights priority countries. Some of the human rights violations carried out under Mnangagwa’s administration include the shooting of six people during the post-election violence of 1 August last year and the camp-down on protesters over price hikes in January this year.
Zimbabwe is currently under European Union sanctions but Britain is discussing how to apply the sanctions when it leaves the EU.
“The UK continues to call for the government of Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and human rights and to promote free and fair elections under the protection of the 2013 constitution and international human rights law,” Lord Ahmad said.
He said that Zimbabwe’s economy continues to be very fragile and faces severe challenges.
“We are therefore balancing to ensure that we can continue to commit to some of the reforms we wish to see while maintaining a sanctions policy that still allows the economy to develop and the citizens of Zimbabwe to progress,” Lord Ahmad said.
“The situation in Zimbabwe remains very fragile, and we will continue to work closely to ensure that, while the sanctions are being imposed, at the same time we look to provide some relief for the economy of Zimbabwe.”
But the British peer said President Mnangagwa needs to work with all Zimbabweans in dialogue for a better future.
Mnangagwa is already involved in dialogue with 17 of the opposition parties that fielded presidential candidates in last year’s elections.
The dialogue will be officially launched on Friday next week and is being convened by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission.
The Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa refused to take party in the dialogue saying it wanted the talks to be presided over by someone from outside Zimbabwe.
The High Court on Wednesday said Chamisa’s leadership of the opposition party was unconstitutional but the party has defied the ruling.