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Zimbabwe: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Mark Oaten Mark Oaten Liberal Democrat, Winchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness and stability of the power-sharing Government in Zimbabwe.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

holding answer 15 June 2009

Through their Global Political Agreement (GPA), the Inclusive Government (IG) have committed themselves to a package of reforms that will restore security and welfare to Zimbabwe's people, and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law. They have made an effective start to this work: a credible short-term economic recovery plan (STERP) has been published and is beginning to be acted upon, and the payment of public workers has seen some civic organs functioning again. However, several vital aspects of the GPA remain to be implemented; the continued harassment of human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests and intimidation, increased farm invasions and lack of press freedom all remain a concern. Without major progress in these areas the IG will not have kept their promises to the Zimbabwean people, and the international community will be unable fully to re-engage with Zimbabwe.

Tensions and differences of attitude to reform and its pace remain; not surprising when the IG bring together erstwhile political foes. We will continue to look actively for ways of supporting the IG in their efforts to achieve reforms, offering assistance which promotes and strengthens positive change. We are in regular contact with the Government to discuss how this can best be achieved and we maintain close dialogue on this with our EU and international partners.

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