UK criticised for ‘condoning’ stolen Zim elections

The Zimbabwe Vigil protesting outside Chatham House

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
29 January 2014

The UK has been criticised for giving credence to the disputed 2013 electoral process in Zimbabwe, by hosting a delegation of business leaders, some with links to ZANU PF.

The delegation, which includes some of Zimbabwe’s wealthiest and most influential businessmen, was invited by the Chatham House think tank to be part of a meeting at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London on Tuesday night.

They were greeted by angry demonstrators from the London based protest group, the Zimbabwe Vigil. Coordinator Rose Benton told SW Radio Africa that by giving the delegation a platform, Chatham House was ‘condoning’ the disputed elections in Zimbabwe last July.

“The delegation arrived while we were there, and when they saw us they fled. And our people followed them to the side door (of Chatham House) and shouted at them, because they’re angry. And we’re angry with the British for hosting these people,” Benton said.

She added: “We shouldn’t engage with an illegal regime. By re-engaging we are saying the elections were free and fair and they weren’t. What should happen is a new, free and fair election.”

The business delegation includes former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kumbirai Katsande, Douglas Mboweni of Econet, Chamber of Mines president Alex Mhembere, Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe president George Guvamatanga, Agribank chief executive officer Sam Malaba, MIMOSA executive Winston Chitando, African Sun CEO Shingi Munyeza and businessman Shingi Mutasa.

The high-powered business team is being led by current CZI president, Charles Msipa, who is also the managing director of Schweppes Zimbabwe, which was seized from businessman Mutumwa Mawere.
Msipa, the son of ZANU PF politburo member and former Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa, is allegedly also a close ally of former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu.


Chatham House is ranked the second most influential think tank in the world after the Brookings Institution

The London meeting was one stop on the delegation’s European tour, which is aimed at engaging potential investors. Before embarking on the tour Msipa was quoted as saying that a negative perception of Zimbabwe was being perpetuated by ‘skewed’ media coverage, and this was affecting the foreign investment critically needed to help turn the economy around.

“We want to complement government efforts to attract foreign direct investment into Zimbabwe and open dialogue about the country and its potential as an investment destination for Europe,” said Msipa.

Economic analysts have said that ZANU PF’s indigenisation policies, which legalise the 51% takeover of foreign owned firms, is standing in the way of new investment in Zimbabwe. UK based political analyst Clifford Mashiri, who was at the Vigil demonstration on Tuesday, agreed and said the ZANU PF government had a “strange way of doing business.”

“It is a strange arrangement to lure foreigners into the country where 51% of their businesses will be seized. These businessmen may be rich and allegedly apolitical, but they are being used by the regime to sanitise the wrongs committed by the Mugabe government,” Mashiri told SW Radio Africa.


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8 Responsesto “UK criticised for ‘condoning’ stolen Zim elections”

  1. vikinduku says:

    These are some of the double standards of England,do not do business with these thugs,the sooner you do it the better.

    • Alex says:

      Double standards for sure. Thanks for commenting!

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        Business men and women go where there are chances of making money and maximising their profits. They will not be going to Zimbabwe to preach the Gospel of Saint Peters or Saint Matthew but to make money only.Most of them are not politicians but creators of wealth.They do not have time to listen to a pirate radio station or a tiny minority of Zimbabweans in London demonstrating and peddling nonsense that militate their business objectives.

        • Alex says:

          Yar matey, that be true. But I also doubt they’ll go where the majority of their shareholding will be seized by the state. Not a sound investment

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            These guys are not fools who will go without an open mind. They will already know what to expect when they finally make their mind to go. It is too little too late for you to come out with this nonsense you can not support convincingly but which is highly speculative. Things are happening in Zimbabwe, Alex Bell, and no amount of hopeless propaganda will stop those who want to make money in this country. Who would have thought British businessmen would go to China to scout for business opportunities and to ask the Chinese to invest in the United Kingdom?

          • Alex says:

            The indigenisation policy is not speculative, it’s fact. Time will tell Mr. ‘Warvet’. But thanks for commenting!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Remember the European Union and United States have resident ambassadors in Zimbabwe who are more knowledgeable about the goings on in this country that you guys at that pirate radio station in London. Decisions they will make will be as a result of the feedback they get from their diplomats and not from a tiny and miserable Alex Bell who has a bone to chew with the Mugabe government. You are just wasting your time peddling nonsense that will not influence change in this country, trust me. Of course, I am fully aware that you get paid for your efforts. Enjoy the money, confuse other idiots like Wilbert Mukori, Tererai Karimakwenda, Victoria Gonda etc etc at that pirate radio station and above all, smoke weeds, dine and wine in fine hotels of London. That is all there is to it and nothing more, Alex Bell.

  2. shingi says:

    those demonstrating should first be brave enough to go and vote in zimbabwe and not expect others to do it for them

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