By Bernard Wainaina
THROW-BACK;Published June 25, 2008
Queen Elizabeth Strips Zimbabwe’s Mugabe of Knighthood
LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II stripped Robert Mugabe of his ceremonial knighthood on Wednesday, revoking the honor amid new
attempts to rebuke the president of Zimbabwe and express revulsion over human rights abuses in his country.
The highly unusual move was the most eye-
catching of several steps, which included decisions to press for new European Union sanctions against Mugabe’s regime, to ban Zimbabwe’s cricket team from a tour of Britain, and a government warning that Britons should avoid all travel to the country
engulfed in violence.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to name
members of Mugabe’s regime who are behind the intimidation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change — and single them out for sanctions.
But he promised new help for
Zimbabwe if democracy returns.
The queen acted on the advice of Foreign Secretary David Miliband, whose office said Mugabe should have the honour revoked because of violence and intimidation ahead of Friday’s presidential runoff.
Britain and the United States said they won’t
recognize the result after opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew, citing the risks to his supporters.
Brown said Britain no longer recognizes Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s legitimate leader.
Mugabe was made an honorary knight in Britain in 1994, when he was considered an anti-colonial hero.
Honorary knighthoods are conferred on people
who are not British citizens but are recommended by the Foreign Office and approved by the queen.
Only British recipients can use the title sir or
“This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Office, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.
Though rare, there is a precedent for the decision to revoke Mugabe’s honor.
The late Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu was stripped of his title in 1989 at the height of that nation’s revolution.
On Wednesday, Brown told lawmakers that Britain is drafting new sanctions against specific individuals in Mugabe’s government to present to the European Union to adopt and enforce.
“We are preparing intensified sanctions —
financial and travel sanctions — against named members of the Mugabe regime,” Brown said,during his weekly question and answer session at the House of Commons.
Britain’s Foreign Office and a European Union list confirm that 131 individuals connected to Mugabe’s regime are currently the subject of EU travel and financial sanctions, under EU measures drafted in 2002.
“We know the names of the criminal cabal that is trying to keep him in power, and we will name those individuals and these will be part of the next stage of the sanctions,” Brown said.
Britain’s Culture Secretary Andy Burnham banned Zimbabwe’s cricket team Wednesday from the U.K. because of its close links to Mugabe.
The team was scheduled to play next June in
cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup in England. The team was also due to play England for two tests and three one-day matches.
After receiving a letter from Burnham, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed it will suspend all ties with Zimbabwe’s cricket body.
“The close ties of the Zimbabwe cricket team to the Mugabe regime have also had a bearing on our decision,” Burnham wrote in his letter.
Mugabe is a longtime patron of Zimbabwe’s cricket authorities.
Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa has
anointed the First Lady, Grace Mugabe as Queen of Zimbabwe, in yet another intriguing Zanu PF succession matrix.
Mnangagwa, who his self is eying to succeed
President Robert Mugabe made the shocking
announcements during a Parliamentary session this afternoon.
“There is no country that is without a king and queen” said Mnangagwa.
“You saw yesterday the traditional chiefs endorsing the Queen in Mazowe. The Queen now wants to assist the king…” he said.
On Tuesday, scores of traditional chiefs swarmed Grace Mugabe’s Mazowe empire to endorse her as Secretary for Women’s Affairs at the forthcoming Zanu PF elective congress.
A local publication, NewsDay reported that the spirit mediums — to be led by Mbuya Nehanda and others only identified as Mutota and Tangwena — are reportedly on Saturday set to preside over a big bira (traditional religious festival) on the outskirts of Harare along Mazowe Road to seek guidance from the “ancestral spirits” on the country’s political
problems, including President Robert Mugabe’s
The paper said two of the mediums Mutota and Mbuya Nehanda were currently allegedly residing at a farm outside Harare where the event would be held.
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