Harare, December 9, 2019 (New Ziana) – British ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson on Monday held a meeting with Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, where she expressed Britain’s commitment to assisting Zimbabwe deal with drought-induced food shortages.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, she said although Zimbabwe had made progress in implementing political and economic reforms, Britain was concerned about what Robinson called some ‘backward steps” the government was taking.
“I did express concerns about some of the backward steps that we have seen on reforms in the last two years and asked him to see what action he can do on that,” she said.
She did not elaborate on the steps Britain viewed as backward.
But Robinson said much of the meeting was devoted to the food insecurity situation in the country caused by drought which ravaged several other southern African countries as well.
“We also had a chance to talk about (the) humanitarian situation in the country and our concern that there are people around the country who are food insecure; that there are people who are struggling with health and education.
“And as the UK we are providing £49 million for the food situation and a further £5 million to help prevent cholera outbreak,” she said.
The Vice President, said Robinson, was concerned about the food situation.
“We were able to talk about what we are doing and we asked the Vice President to share information about what the government is doing; about what is available in the grain stores so we can coordinate our efforts in the interest of the Zimbabwean people.
On progress recorded so far with regards to Zimbabwe’s re-admission into the Commonwealth, the ambassador said it was ‘somewhere far from that.’
“We discussed the Commonwealth and I said from the beginning, (the) UK has been clear; we would like to see Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth and at the point where the economic and political programme of the government has been completed and we have seen good progress on that. And that will be the time to look at membership.
“We are currently somewhere away from that but we look forward into the future to seeing those reforms underway and for us to be able to discuss Commonwealth membership,” she said.