Coup in Zimbabwe

In light of the coup in Zimbabwe, and the fall of the Mugabe regime, Neil questioned the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, on the next steps Britain can take.

Neil: I was an election observer in Zimbabwe in 2000, when Mugabe stole the election from the Movement for Democratic Change through persecution and brutality, and for my sins I have been banned from Zimbabwe.

Not only have the farms of black and white farmers been destroyed in Zimbabwe, but corporate governance across the piece has been destroyed. There will be a stage when we need to re-engage to rebuild that country, because Zimbabwe should be feeding most of Africa; it cannot even feed itself now. There will be a time to engage, but it probably is not yet. We have to be ready to get in there and put the situation right, because Zimbabwe is a beautiful country with lovely people, and it has been absolutely destroyed by a madman.

The Foreign Secretary: I am delighted that my hon. Friend has been to Zimbabwe, and he is right in his analysis of what went wrong. I remember seeing how fantastic farms were ruined, with irrigation systems melted down to make saucepans, or whatever. It was an economic catastrophe, for which the people of Zimbabwe are now paying.

The best way forward is through free and fair elections. As my hon. Friend has experience as an election monitor in Zimbabwe, I wonder whether it is too much to hope that he might volunteer to go back next year to monitor the free and fair elections we hope to see.