Britain must withdraw the Royal wedding invitation.

OPINION – Britain would be justified to withdraw the Royal wedding invitation that has been extended to a representative of Robert Mugabe’s regime as the Evening Standard has revealed. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know that rights abuses are continuing in Zimbabwe in the wake of distressing press reports that despite SADC rebuke, Zanu-pf violence against opposition supporters has not stopped.

Of particular concern is the tragic death on Saturday 16th April of Rwisai Nyakauru, the 82 year-old headman of Nyamaropa who was arrested, brutally assaulted, tortured and incarcerated for 25 days by Zanu-pf youth militia and war veterans. His attackers allegedly kicked him all over the body especially the chest area and when he got to prison he was very sick and at one time collapsed vomiting blood, according to Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T MP for Nyanga North who was imprisoned alongside him and 23 other villagers (Swradioafrica, 18/04/11). As if that is not enough, the thugs who assaulted Nyakauru are allegedly taunting villagers in Nyanga about his death and the assailants are roaming free in accordance with the culture of impunity.\r\n

 It would be in very bad taste for Britain to ignore protest voices of Zimbabwe’s human rights activists and civil society. International isolation of Mugabe’s regime has proved effective in getting political reforms albeit a case of too little, too late.

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 It could be argued that the justification of the invitation by Britain that it has diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe is a lame excuse for wanting to warm up to dictator Robert Mugabe who has threatened to seize UK businesses in retaliation to targeted sanctions slapped on him and his inner circle for rights abuses.

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Another disturbing development suggesting a thawing of relations with the Mugabe regime is the curving in of the UK and the US on the ban of the sale of Marange ‘blood’ diamonds. It remains to be seen whether the West lifted the KPC ban as a concession to the threatened company seizures or to catch-up with China which has launched a massive ‘investment’ campaign in the country before it’s too late.

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One hopes Western countries will not use the excuse of Mugabe’s anti-sanctions petition as another convenient opportunity to appease the regime by lifting targeted sanctions before internationally supervised, free and fair elections are conducted in Zimbabwe after a referendum on a new constitution.

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It does not require a UN resolution for the Right Honourable William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary to withdraw the invitation to the royal wedding. It is not too late to act. It would be a great symbolic gesture of solidarity with the suffering people of Zimbabwe.

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Meanwhile, civil society organisations in Zimbabwe would be justified in launching a protest demonstration at the British Embassy in Harare should the invitation not be revoked. Similarly, the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in London against the invitation is justified too.

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Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, zimanalysis2009@gmail.com

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