By Sheryleen Masuku
The Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the UK, James Duddridge, says “the eyes of the world are watching the Zimbabwean Government, as are the Zimbabwean people”.
Duddrige was responding to questions from a Member of Parliament for Newport West Ruth Jones about the human rights violations taking place in Zimbabwe, during the recent FCDO House of Commons meeting that was held on Tuesday last week.
“We remain seriously concerned about human rights in Zimbabwe, including abductions, arrests and assaults on civil society” said Duddridge.
“In fact, on 1 February, we used our new sanctions regime to hold to account four specific individuals responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses. We will continue to press for genuine political and economic reform, and for Zimbabwean laws to be upheld”.
Duddrige was referring to four top government officials in Zimbabwe who were added to the UK Sanctions list earlier this year.
The four individuals are Minister of state for National Security Owen Ncube, Zimbabwe Ambassador to Tanzania Anselem Nhamo Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Godwin Matanga and Isaac Moyo the Director General of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The four individuals are now subject to a UK travel ban and an asset freeze according to the latest financial sanctions statement issued by the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM Treasury.
Members of Parliament in UK said they have been receiving emails from concerned Zimbabweans in their constituencies about the human rights violations taking place in the country. Jones from Newport said:
“In recent weeks, I have received emails from constituents about the worsening and very serious political, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe.”
“My part of south Wales has a vibrant and thriving Zimbabwean community, and although I accept that the Minister has made an assessment of the situation, I would like to know what concrete steps this Government are taking with allies in the region, directly through Harare and through the community groups here in the UK, because enough is enough”.
Duddridge replied saying his office has engaged the African Union and South Africa on the human rights violations in Zimbabwe because they are very influential in the Southern African Region.
“I have a Zimbabwean community in Southend, with which I engage, but we also engage with near partners, particularly South Africa and the African Union, that are very influential”.
“Our ambassador maintains a dialogue across ZANU-PF, and following the death of Foreign Minister Moyo, with whom I had previously had very frank engagements, I am due to meet his replacement when he gets in role and starts making international engagements”.
Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo succumbed to Covid-19 early this year, he was replaced by Frederick Shava who assumed his official duties last Tuesday.
The question of Zimbabwe’s deteriorating Human rights situation has consistently been raised by UK parliamentarians since President Emmerson Mnangagwa came into power in 2017.