Mugabe’s time up’

Dumisani Muleya

BRITISH Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Elizabeth Symons says most Zimbabweans want President Robert Mugabe to relinquish power to alleviate their worsening

misery.


In a parliamentary debate on the Zimbabwe crisis, Baroness Symons said Mugabe’s time was almost up and people were anxious to “see the back of a truly terrible leader”.


“I am sure that we have hoped for a considerable period that time is running out for Mugabe. I am bound to say to …Lord Avebury that I hope time is running out because the people of Zimbabwe want to see the back of a truly terrible leader, but not necessarily through any illness.”


Symons was responding to a question by Lord Avebury on whether there were “not grounds for thinking that time is at last running out for Mugabe, even though reports of his ill-health, unfortunately, are exaggerated?”


Avebury asked if Symons thought the United Nations should develop contingency plans to massively increase aid in the event of a transitional government that could lead to free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.


In reply Symons said: “… we have tried to obtain a consensus in the United Nations around the issue. As the noble Lord will concede, we have found it very difficult to do so.”


Lord Howell of Guildford asked if there was a policy shift in London towards Harare.


Symons said there was no change of policy and there would not be any.


“Our policy towards Zimbabwe has not changed. We want a democratically accountable government which respects human rights and the rule of law,” she said.