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Zim,U.K Exchange Pleasantries During Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations

British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson

The Zimbabwe government and the United Kingdom yesterday complemented each other, albeit rarely, during a function to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th anniversary since rising to power, which was marked worldwide.

Harare and London have had strained relations in the last 22 years after the former implemented a bloody and rushed land reform program which ushered a prolonged period of human rights abuses led by the then President, Robert Mugabe.

In response to the human rights violations, the U.K government and other western powers imposed targetted sanctions on Zimbabwe which further worsened diplomatic ties between the two.

However, in recent years, the two governments have been on a quest to mend the ties and yesterday’s event was one platform that both countries showed more commitment to working with each other.

During her address at the function, the U.K Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Her Excellence, Melanie Robinson underscored her government’s continued support in Zimbabwe and outlined a number of projects that have been implemented throughout the years.

She said the Queen’s reign “Spans a transformative period in Zimbabwe’s history and the relationship between our two countries. As Ambassador, I am constantly reminded of how our inter-twined – even sometimes complicated – histories shape the unique relationship we share today, not least through our vibrant people-to-people links.”

Ambassador Robinson additionally, revealed the U.K’s commitment to the betterment of Zimbabweans’ lives which has seen millions of people benefitting through various programs.

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“Between 2016 and 2021, the UK helped more than 190,000 girls and boys get a decent education; four million Zimbabweans get access to clean water and better sanitation; 1.3 million women and children under the age of five receive nutrition-related interventions, and 1.6 million women and girls use family planning,” Ambassador Robinson said.

She reiterated that her government stands willing to engage with civil society organisations in attaining better human rights standards in Zimbabwe.

“We are proud to work with civil society to defend human rights and promote the open, democratic society enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution. We continue to work closely with Zimbabwe on climate change. In the last five years, the UK has helped 3.4 million Zimbabweans build their resilience to the impacts of global warming. And in November, we were delighted to welcome a high-level Zimbabwean delegation to Glasgow for COP26,” she added.

Ambassador Robinson further stated that the British Council continues to work with young Zimbabwean creatives, helping them develop their art and entrepreneurial skills.

In response, Foreign affairs Minister, Ambassador, Fredrick Shava paid homage to the U.K’s support while declaring that he is confident that the two countries will work even more closely together on climate change.

“I wish to underscore our government’s tremendous appreciation for the multisectoral assistance that the United Kingdom government is rendering to sectors that include clean energy, health, disaster management, education, capacity building, creative arts and demining.

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“The government further appreciates the support of the U.K government for interventions in the humanitarian sector. It is most pertinent that Zimbabwe expresses its appreciation for the support that the UK government is providing to our women and girls at a poignant moment when we are joining you in celebrating the long and dedicated service of a phenomenal woman, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II,” Ambassador Shava noted.

He added that Zimbabwe has benefitted tremendously through the Queen’s reign which dates back to the colonial days when Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, was under British administration.

With support from the  U.K government, Ambassador Shava said, the current government is committed to addressing topical issues which range from political, economic and electoral reforms, which have made it difficult for the two countries to fully work together over the years.

“We are, therefore, pleased and grateful to note that the multisectoral, multilevel support and interventions being generously offered by your government are significantly complementing the facilities and programs which are being implemented by the government of Zimbabwe in its quest to attain the vision of an upper to the middle economy by 2030 through implementing economic, political, legislative and electoral reforms,” he noted.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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