Britain says as Zimbabwe’s oldest friend it will do everything to support change




Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, addresses the House of Commons during her first Prime Minister's Questions in London, Britain July 20, 2016. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday as Zimbabwe’s oldest friend, Britain is going to do everything it can to support Zimbabwe’s change into a country that is free and democratic.

She was responding to a question from Conservative Member of Parliament Shailesh Vara who wanted to know whether Britain would do everything it can to persuade the new government in Zimbabwe to treat British citizens living lawfully in the country with respect because they suffered considerably under the Mugabe regime.

May responded: “I think that the resignation of Robert Mugabe gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to forge a new path, free from the oppression that has characterised the past.

“We want to see a democratic, free, secure Zimbabwe, where people across communities throughout Zimbabwe are able to lead their lives without fear and oppression, and we want to see the country rejoin the international community.

“We have obviously given Zimbabwe some support in the form of UK aid, and, as the country’s oldest friend, we will do everything we can to support its change into a country that is free and democratic, and free of all oppression for all communities.”

Q & A

Shailesh Vara Conservative, North West Cambridgeshire: The Prime Minister will be aware that under President Mugabe, British citizens living in Zimbabwe, especially landowners, suffered considerably. Can she assure the House that as we see a new regime coming to Zimbabwe, the British Government will do all they can to persuade that new regime to treat British citizens living lawfully in that country with respect, and to give them the safety and security that they should have, along with all other Zimbabwean citizens?

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party: My hon. Friend has raised an important point as we see that change taking place in Zimbabwe. I think that the resignation of Robert Mugabe gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to forge a new path, free from the oppression that has characterised the past. We want to see a democratic, free, secure Zimbabwe, where people across communities throughout Zimbabwe are able to lead their lives without fear and oppression, and we want to see the country rejoin the international community. We have obviously given Zimbabwe some support in the form of UK aid, and, as the country’s oldest friend, we will do everything we can to support its change into a country that is free and democratic, and free of all oppression for all communities.