by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE – THE United Kingdom (UK) has reiterated its pledge working with the new administration in Zimbabwe to revive the country
following the ousting of longtime leader Robert Mugabe last November.
Harriett Baldwin, the Minister of Africa, said this upon arrival in Harare on Thursday, which is the second UK ministerial visit to Zimbabwe since Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in place of Mugabe.
Rory Stewart, the then-Minister of Africa, was the first foreign dignitary to be received by Mnangagwa.
“I am looking forward to meeting a wide range of Zimbabweans and hearing from them about the huge potential their country holds and the challenges that must be faced ahead of elections later this year,” she said.
Elections look likely to be held in August.
Baldwin said her country had a longstanding relationship with the Southern African country.
However, these have been strained over the past two decades after the former colonial master accused Mugabe of human rights violations and electoral fraud.
The relations have however eased after Mugabe was forced out of office by the intervention of the army and mass protests.
“We are committed to working with the government of Zimbabwe for a bright, prosperous and hopeful future for all Zimbabweans,” Baldwin said.
The minister will hold meetings with business representatives, politicians, human rights groups, non-governmental organisations and other members of civil society.
She is also scheduled to assess some development work supported by the UK, including a school for children with disabilities.
However, during Mugabe’s tenure, he accused the West of sponsoring opposition parties as well as deliberately sabotaging the country’s economy in order to foment people’s anger against the ruling.