Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Tenth Report


(a)We condemn Robert Mugabe for his role in the violent seizure of farms and for rewarding his cronies with gifts of expropriated land. We conclude that responsible land reform in Zimbabwe must include agreed compensation and must favour genuine farmers, who will contribute to Zimbabwe's prosperity. Such a programme should be funded and monitored by the international community. We recommend that the Government continue to stress this when working with its partners in Africa and elsewhere to bring about a solution to Zimbabwe's land reform crisis (paragraph 17).
(b)we recommend that the Government pursue all appropriate means of supporting the work of independent journalists in Zimbabwe—including working through its EU and Commonwealth partners—by encouraging and enabling them to continue to report events and to stand up for democratic values (paragraph 23).
(c)We recommend that the Government ensure that BBC World Service continues to have sufficient funds to maintain the quality and extent of its coverage in Zimbabwe, and better still, given the repressive nature of the Mugabe regime, to extend it further (paragraph 24).
(d)We conclude that the Government was entirely right to refuse to accept the result or the legitimacy of the Zimbabwe presidential election of March 2002 and we support the demand for new, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, monitored by Commonwealth and other impartial international observers (paragraph 33).
(e)We recommend that the Government act wherever possible to prevent misrepresentations of the United Kingdom's policies and motivations towards Zimbabwe by ensuring that it explains its policies clearly to all concerned, that it briefs the press fully and frequently, and that it counters in the strongest terms all misrepresentations of its position whenever they come to its attention (paragraph 37).
(f)We conclude that it is vitally important—both on humanitarian and on foreign policy grounds—that the United Kingdom continues to provide and increase aid to the people of Zimbabwe, both bilaterally and through reputable international agencies, though not through the Government of Zimbabwe (paragraph 47).
(g)We commend the role played by the Prime Minister in helping to create the New Partnership for Africa's Development—NePAD—launched at the G8 summit in June. However, until Zimbabwe adopts good governance and begins to participate fully in NePAD, we conclude that the bilateral relationship with Zimbabwe will continue to be difficult and there are benefits to be gained from continued co-operation with other countries, in particular with African members of the Commonwealth (paragraph 48).
(h)We conclude that the Government was right to call for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth. We warmly welcome the Commonwealth's decision to make a suspension for the first time on grounds of violation of human rights and the Commonwealth Harare Declaration—in the past, countries have been suspended from the Commonwealth only after the unconstitutional overthrow of elected governments. We recommend that the Government continue to urge the Commonwealth to exert strong pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe to comply with the principles enshrined in the Commonwealth Harare Declaration (paragraph 51).
(i)We recommend that the Government clarify at the earliest opportunity its understanding of how the provisions of the EU travel ban relate to attendance by Robert Mugabe, or others subject to the ban, at meetings of bodies established under international treaty. We further recommend that, if the Government has the power to block attempts by other member states to allow Zimbabweans subject to the ban to attend such meetings, they should use it (paragraph 57).
(j)We recommend that the Government keep the effectiveness of sanctions against the Government of Zimbabwe under constant review and that it be prepared to seek a further extension or tightening of those sanctions when appropriate (paragraph 58).
(k)We recommend that the Government seek in the United Nations, G8 and elsewhere to persuade countries outside the European Union to impose similar sanctions to those agreed by the EU, and to build the widest possible consensus for a swift and orderly transition to democracy in Zimbabwe (paragraph 59).
(l)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 land reform (paragraph 70).
(m)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." (paragraph 71).
(n)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 (paragraph 72).
(o)Zimbabwe deserves better. The United Kingdom is under a particular obligation to assist, not primarily because white farmers with British forebears are under threat—although that is a matter of great and proper concern—but 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 (paragraph 73).

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Prepared 31 July 2002