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Zimbabwe

Volume 501: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2009

14. What recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. (302607)

I say to my hon. Friend the Minister of State that you have to be quick in this game. The notes for the reply say that the Minister answering is “Ivan Lewis”, so I apologise—but hesitation and deviation are both punished in this House.

The inclusive Government continue to make progress on economic reform, but we are disappointed by the slow pace of political reform, the spasmodic violence and the continuation of human rights abuses. The Southern African Development Community agreed at its Maputo summit to push for further implementation of the global political agreement in Zimbabwe, but the proof will be in the delivery. We urge all parties, as the Commonwealth did on Sunday, to stick to the agreement and comply with it.

Is it not clear that there can be no real change while Mugabe remains? Will the Secretary of State confirm that it is absolute nonsense to speak of readmission to the Commonwealth while the current situation persists?

The hon. Gentleman will know that Prime Minister Tsvangirai has committed to the global political agreement, which is a transitional agreement to renewed elections over an 18-month period. The Commonwealth, the British Government and others have said that that all parties must stick to that agreement. If that happens, the future of Zimbabwe can be turned away from the terrible descent into violence and economic chaos into which Mugabe took the country.