Zimbabwe continues to be a headache for Britain. President Robert Mugabe has announced that the country will be holding elections next year, a move that could be endorsed by his Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front this weekend, but Britain seems at odds as to what to do about the elections.
This exposed on Tuesday when legislator Pauline Latham asked the Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Henry Bellingham what his department was doing to strengthen the democratic process in the run-up to and during next year’s elections in African countries.
Bellingham seemed to have answers for Nigeria and Uganda but not for Zimbabwe.
“The ongoing problems in Côte d’Ivoire illustrate the importance of elections running smoothly. That is why in Nigeria we are supporting the electoral commission in the run-up to next year’s presidential elections,” he said.
“In Uganda, we are providing a range of assistance and advancement actions, including the Department for International Development’s “deepening democracy” programme. Finally, on Zimbabwe, there must be credible action that commands the support of the world community.”