London – British lawmaker Kate Hoey has called on the UK government to reaffirm that there would be “no bailout” for Zimbabwe until President Robert Mugabe, 92, ceased to rule the southern African country, a report said on Thursday.
In an opinion piece published by Heat Street, Hoey urged the United Kingdom not to help Mugabe’s government until he had “disappeared from power and influence forever”.
Hoey further questioned the recent Harare visit by former British cabinet member Peter Mandelson.
Mandelson’s visit to Harare came as reports indicated that the British government was pushing a package to pay off $1.8bn in arrears to multilateral donors, which would allow Zimbabwe to take out emergency IMF loans.
According to an article by Ian Birrell published on Nehanda Radio, British diplomats and officials in the department for international development were behind this.
They apparently favoured stability over respect for human rights or support for opposition figures fighting a brutal regime, the report said.
Hoey has since demanded that the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson publicly denounce the rumour.
“This episode calls for an urgent response from our new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. On Zimbabwe he must reaffirm Britain’s position in the most robust and colourful language he can command: no money, no bailout until Mugabe disappears from power and influence for ever,” she said.
The British government and the United States imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000, after they accused Mugabe of trampling on human rights, rigging elections and repression of press freedom – accusations that the veteran leader denied.
The sanctions led to devastating economic challenges, with the country reportedly now sitting with about 85% unemployment.