Wednesday, October 16, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) UK clears Zanu PF political activities
22/09/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF has assured its supporters in the United Kingdom that “they don’t need to operate under the radar” after assurances from the British government that they will not be targeted.

An interim Zanu PF executive in the United Kingdom led by Nick Mangwana claims “a lot of cadres were persecuted in machinations led by their own regime change countrymen who campaigned for their deportation and expulsion.”

“Those in public service jobs nearly lost them, and some lost them. Those in academic research had grants and funding withdrawn,” Mangwana said on Sunday.

But after engagement with the UK Foreign Office, Mangwana said they now had written reassurances that they can hold public meetings and canvass without being targeted.

He explained: “Assurances were initially given verbally but at our insistence for written assurances, details of the leadership were sought. It was only then that the policy statement was sent to the chairman of the steering committee assuring that the British government has no problem with Zanu PF operating from the heartland of Europe.

“After many years of threats, covert and overt retributive actions against people who were perceived to be Zanu PF supporters and cadres, the British government has now given its assurance for their protection.”

In a letter to the Zanu PF interim executive, Mark Simmonds, Britain’s Minister for Africa, said: “You asked whether there would be any objections to Zanu PF activity here in the UK. There would be no bar on your activities here in the UK, providing they do not contravene UK law, as is the case for any political party.”

Simmonds further asked the Zanu PF executive to meet with Richard Croker, the Head of the Zimbabwe Unit at the Foreign Office’s Africa Department Central “to discuss the issues you have raised”.

Mangwana said: “The steering committee wishes to extend this assurance to cadres that they don’t need to operate under the radar. It's okay to join the very fashionable Zanu PF UK openly.”

Relations between the Zanu PF-led Zimbabwe government and former colonial power Britain remain frosty. Mugabe and nine other officials remain on European Union sanctions which he says were instigated by Britain which was angry with his land reform policy, but the UK accuses Mugabe of election fraud and rights abuses.

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