Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has accused the United Kingdom of interfering in his country’s internal affairs after London voiced concern over human rights violations and persecution of government critics in the southern African country.
In its Human Rights Priority Countries’ ministerial statement for the period January to June, 2021, published late last month, the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said Zimbabwe remained a major source of concern because of the worsening human rights situation.
Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, UK minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, also told the House of Lords that London was leaning on Zimbabwe’s neighbours such as South Africa and Botswana to push for a resolution of the crisis in the country.
President Mnangagwa hit back in a televised address saying the debate in the House of Lords and Lord Ahmad’s statements amounted to “unwarranted and blatant interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs.”
“Only last week, our country Zimbabwe became a subject of unmerited focus and debate in the British House of Lords,” he said.
President Mnangagwa added that Zimbabwe had been a sovereign state since its independence from Britain in 1980 and since it was not affiliated to the Commonwealth, London had no basis dictating to it how to run its affairs vowing that government will institute a full and thorough investigation into this very grave matter.”
The UK says it is concerned about human rights violations in Zimbabwe, which include the targeting of prominent opposition and civil society leaders.
They accused President Mnangagwa of going back on his promises to return Zimbabwe into a democracy after taking over power from long time ruler Robert Mugabe in the 2017 military coup.