Boris Johnson means well for Africa. But Zimbabwe must come to the party

By Andy Kapfumvuti

When he was the UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson said: “The UK stands ready to support a Zimbabwe that embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform.”

He reiterated the same statement as the British prime minister a few days ago, which means that if there are no fundamental electoral and economic reforms in Zimbabwe, mending the broken relations with the UK will be an impossible task.

If what Zimbabwe requires to re-establish good relations with the UK is to embrace the rule of law, human rights and economic reform, why not do just that?

This is a golden opportunity that Zimbabwe should embrace to improve ties with the UK, when there is the goodwill that has been brought about by the coming of a new leader in the UK.

I think Mr Johnson means well for Zimbabwe, and will go some way to pull Zimbabwe out of its economic and political quagmire.

Zimbabwe’s fractious relationship with its colonial master was man-made and can be amended.

Remember the unhealthy relationship started when Britain and its politicians opposed Mugabe’s disastrous land reform, his persecution of white farmers and his calamitous management of the economy.

In this regard if drastic political and economic reforms are implemented, good ties with the UK will be restored because that is all the UK wants. This will be good for both countries as Zimbabwe needs the much needed economic stability and Britain will benefit from our mining and agriculture sectors.

However the current breed of rapacious Zimbabwean politicians will find it difficult to implement these reforms as this will expose the corrupt deals they are engaged in.

Since some or all of them are deeply rooted in corruption and have accumulated tonnes of wealth, and manipulating the security entities to their advantage, all the intended reforms will simply come to nothing.

Zimbabwe’s current crop of leaders will never let that happen. They fear for their lives.

They think the tide will turn against them, and they will rot in jail.

Mr Johnson should tread carefully when it comes to African politics in general, and Zimbabwean politics in particular.

It is no secret that Zimbabwean politicians would want a friendlier UK, and many expect Britain to come to Zimbabwe’s aid without having them to take responsibility for the broken country that they have created.

If relations are restored our covetous leaders stand to benefit from years of plunder and torture of innocent people.

They will also benefit from the proceeds of the new dispensation. They then will regard themselves as the ones that delivered prosperity. Nuh.

There is another contentious issue emanating from Western politicians, that is, determining the kind of leadership they want installed in African countries.

Western countries have a known tendency of having their preferred candidates, yet they, on the other hand, preach reforms and the rule of law.

The whole situation is confusing.

Mr Johnson should press hard for fair and credible electoral practices in Zimbabwe and to see to it that those electoral practices are implemented.

Any perpetrator of dirty tactics should suffer the consequences of such misdemeanor.

Zimbabwe has wonderful natural resources and if that is properly managed and utilised, Zimbabwe will once again be a prosperous country, even in a very short time.

This is what the new UK prime minister should capitalise on. Britain will benefit from the resources we have and Zimbabwe will establish nomalcy and benefit from foreign investment.

As for Mr Johnson, he should capture the moment and emerge as the prime minister of the UK who brought sanity to a once-prosperous corner of Africa. I think he will be proud of his efforts, and will generate a lot of respect from the Zimbabweans.

As the Zimbabwe National Party we see a golden opportunity which should not slip off our hands. The ruling party should heed the voice of Britain to implement these reforms.

Being proud and of difficult nature will serve no-one’s purpose, and especially where there is a chance to mend fences with the new British leadership will not serve any purpose for the UK’s African interests at large, and those of Zimbabwe.

Andy Kapfumvuti is President: Zimbabwe National Party. Contact him at 0788421430.


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