President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to the United Kingdom for King Charles III’s coronation has sparked controversy and criticism as the UK government plans to confront him over the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe. Despite rising cases of alleged abuses and the weaponization of the law against opposition members, Mnangagwa was invited to the coronation ceremony following an invitation from the British government.
British MP Andrew Mitchell, who serves as the Minister for Development and Africa, addressed concerns raised by rights activists regarding the invitation of Mnangagwa in a letter dated May 4, which he shared on Twitter. Mitchell acknowledged the UK’s worry about rampant corruption and human rights violations in Zimbabwe and emphasized that discussions during the coronation would provide an opportunity to address these concerns.
Navendu Mishra, another British MP, had written to the Foreign Secretary seeking an explanation for the invitation extended to President Mnangagwa. The concerns raised by Mishra reflect the growing discontent among activists and human rights advocates who question the UK’s decision to host a leader facing allegations of rights abuses.
President Mnangagwa’s government has faced extensive scrutiny both domestically and internationally due to reports of arbitrary arrests and pre-trial detentions of opposition politicians. The invitation extended to him has raised eyebrows among critics who argue that such an invitation contradicts the UK’s stance on promoting human rights and democratic values.
During his visit, Mnangagwa held meetings with various British figures, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, as confirmed by presidential spokesperson George Charamba. Additionally, President Mnangagwa had a discussion with Minister Andrew Mitchell, where they addressed bilateral issues. Later, Mnangagwa met with British businesspeople in London.
The decision by the UK government to engage with President Mnangagwa and discuss human rights concerns during the coronation ceremony reflects the importance placed on addressing the situation in Zimbabwe. It remains to be seen how the discussions will unfold and whether any tangible steps will be taken to address the human rights abuses and promote democratic reforms in the country.
As President Mnangagwa’s visit continues, activists and observers will closely monitor the outcome of the discussions and assess the UK government’s commitment to upholding human rights and advocating for political reforms on the global stage.