British Lord Peter Grant has raised concerns over the invitation extended to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to attend the coronation of King Charles on May 6th. Despite Mnangagwa’s poor human rights record, he has been personally invited to the event by the British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson.
Speaking to the House of Lords, Lord Peter Grant argued that Zimbabwe should not be allowed back into the Commonwealth until it starts treating British citizens and its own people with respect and dignity. He cited the case of his constituent, Paul Westwood, who had to flee Zimbabwe with his family due to threats from government officials.
Grant accused Mnangagwa of failing to deliver on his promises of ushering in a new era of human rights in Zimbabwe and allowing brutality to become rampant. He requested that the House of Lords be given the opportunity to examine the criteria used to determine which Heads of State or Heads of Government are invited as guests by the British government, monarch, or parliament.
Grant also asked for an assurance from the Foreign Office that Zimbabwe’s attempt to rejoin the Commonwealth would not be entertained until it starts treating its citizens and British citizens with dignity.
Responding to Grant’s concerns, Penny Mordaunt, the Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, suggested that Grant raise his concerns with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office during a scheduled questioning session on May 2nd.
As the controversy surrounding Mnangagwa’s invitation to the coronation continues, it remains to be seen whether the British government will take any action to address the concerns raised by Lord Peter Grant and others.