Queen removes Mugabe’s knighthood

Queen Elizabeth has stripped Robert Mugabe of his honorary knighthood.

The Zimbabwean president had his honour of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, which he was awarded in 1994, annulled yesterday (25.06.08) as Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced “intensified sanctions” and an English cricket tour of the area was called off.

Mugabe has been condemned over violence ahead of the forthcoming presidential elections, which has seen several opposition candidates withdraw over violence and intimidation allegations.

A Foreign Office spokesman said they would continue to focus on improving life for ordinary Zimbabweans but added: “We can no longer justify an individual who is responsible for a consistent campaign of human rights violations and the disregard for the democratic process retaining an honour.”

He added: “His actions have proved beyond all argument that he is not worthy to retain this honour.”

Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg said: “That is no reason not to do it. I think it is wholly inappropriate for a knighthood to be retained by someone who is behaving with such unforgivable brutality,” while Conservative party leader David Cameron called for the president to have his visa rights revoked.

Gordon Brown said: “I believe the whole world has woken up to the evils that are going on in Zimbabwe.

“What we want to see is an end to the violence and a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe – that’s why the efforts of the African Union are so important.”

Meanwhile, the queen received a visit from Nelson Mandela yesterday.

The 90-year-old former South African president – who also spoke out about Zimbabwe yesterday – enjoyed a private audience with the monarch at Buckingham Palace, before hosting a dinner party for guests including Gordon Brown, actors Robert De Niro and Will Smith and musician-turned-activist Sir Bob Geldof.