Zimbabwean government said Friday its relations with the United Kingdom remain cordial, despite London’s decision not to invite it to the UK-Africa Investment Summit next week.
Shepherd Gwenzi, the spokesperson in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said in a statement that the failure by the UK to invite Zimbabwe to the summit was not a proper yardstick to measure relations between the two countries.
London did not invite Harare to the investment summit that will take place in London on Monday next week, raising questions among some about relations between the two nations.
“The UK is a sovereign country which can determine who can attend any of its business events,” Gwenzi said.
“The ministry wishes to place on record that … Zimbabwe-UK relations remain cordial and high-level exchange visits characterize this bilateral relationship. One event, therefore, cannot justifiably be a barometer of relations between Harare and London,” he said.
Zimbabwe attained independence from Britain in 1980 following a protracted war of liberation but relations the two nations became strained starting in 2000 when Zimbabwe repossessed land from former white commercial farmers to resettle landless black farmers.
Britain accused Zimbabwe of committing human rights abuses during the land reform program, a charge Zimbabwe denies.
The dispute resulted in Britain and other Western countries including the United States imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe as punishment for reclaiming its land.
However, since the assumption of office by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017, relations between the two nations appeared to have thawed, with Britain sending its first envoy to attend the inauguration of Mnangagwa in 2017.
Mnangagwa’s administration has also expressed its willingness to mend ties with the country’s erstwhile enemies, as it pushes ahead with its re-engagement drive. Enditem