THE FUTURE FOR UNITED KINGDOM POLICY TOWARDS
66. Zimbabwe is in grave crisis. As the Foreign Secretary
told the House on 25 June, "almost half the populationup
to 6 million peoplewill be unable to meet their minimum
food requirements in the next 12 months."
Agricultural production is down by two thirds.
Unemployment stands at more than half the adult population. Inflation
is at record high levels. The shops are short of goods to sell.
On all economic indicators, Zimbabwe is caught in a downward spiral.
The world watches, apparently helpless. Baroness Amos is clearly
as frustrated as the rest of us at this deterioration: "As
the months go on, if the situation does not change, I think the
neighbouring governments may well have to review their strategy.
Whilst I am frustrated by it, I continue to believe that there
may well be something that happens that will make a critical difference.
We saw it in Angola recently. We have seen it in other situations
where one thing that was entirely unexpected happens and makes
a change. I continue to hope that that will happen in Zimbabwe,
because its people deserve better."
67. The Minister set out her policy, as follows:
"we have to be absolutely clear about what
we want to achieve: ... we want to restore the rule of law; we
want democracy to be implemented, and part of that is in elections;
we want to see development; and we want the poor of Zimbabwe to
have the opportunity to exercise their rights and their choices.
That is what drives British Government policy. I have been pressed
on many occasions about the fact that there is a large British
community which is the thing driving our policy in Zimbabwethat
is absolutely not true."
68. The United Kingdom's aims in relation to Zimbabwe
are clear, but there is no route map for their achievement. Reporting
to the House on his visit to Canada for the G8 summit, the Prime
Minister said that "As for what we should do about Zimbabwe,
at every levelin the European Union and elsewhere, in the
negotiations with the United Statesof course we raise the
the matter' is certainly importantit counters the danger
of inattention, which would play into Mugabe's handsbut
more is required.
69. Land reform remains a key issue. A largely European
minority has been left in ownership of a significant proportion
of farmland, much of it forcibly acquired at a time when the rights
of non-European peoples over their land were not fully recognised.
70. We conclude that, while only Zimbabweans themselves
can decide the future of their country, their friends must co-operate
to offer them every assistance in realising their aspirations.
We recommend that the Government continue to work through the
United Nations, the European Union, the Commonwealth and above
all through Zimbabwe's concerned friends and neighbours in Africa,
to increase pressure on the illegitimate regime of Robert Mugabe
and to maximise the success of action taken in support of the
people of Zimbabwe, through effectively targeted sanctions, generous
and well-administered aid programmes which impact directly on
the poor majority, and a commitment to responsible, fair and productive
71. In his independence speech in 1980, Robert
Mugabe said "Only a government that subjects itself to the
rule of law has any moral right to demand of its citizens obedience
to the rule of law. Our constitution equally circumscribes the
powers of the government by declaring certain civil rights and
freedoms as fundamental. We intend to uphold these fundamental
rights and freedoms to the full."
72. Since 1980, Robert Mugabe has deliberately
and systematically flouted the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Even judged
against his own yardstick, he has lost the moral right to govern
his people. By abusing their fundamental rights and freedoms,
he has earned their contempt and that of the international community,
and has transformed himself from a respected statesman into an
outcast. The tragedy is that he has taken his country with him.
One man can exalt a nation, as Nelson Mandela did South Africa;
one man can destroy a nation, as Mugabe has Zimbabwe.
73. Zimbabwe deserves better. The United Kingdom
is under a particular obligation to assist, not primarily because
white farmers with British forebears are under threatalthough
that is a matter of great and proper concernbut because
as the former colonial power it still has a residual responsibility.
Yet, because it is the former colonial power, the United Kingdom's
actions are viewed with suspicion and mistrust: for the time being,
it must therefore work with and through other countries and international
agencies. In time, the relationship will surely change. We hope,
for the sake of the people of Zimbabwe, that time comes soon.
78 Official Report, 25 June 2002, col 816. Back
So far in 2002, Zimbabwe has arranged to import 600,000 tonnes
of maize. With the exception of the severe drought year of 1992,
it has previously been an exporter of maize. See http://allafrica.com/stories/200207080678.html. Back
Official Report, 1 July 2002, col 26. Back
See www.gta.gov.zw/Presidential%20Speeches/presidential_speeches_main.htm. Back