Tendai Biti,’s party has expressed growing impatience with British ambassador, Catriona Laing, who stands accused of propping up Zanu PF.
In a strongly worded statement Thursday, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), through party secretary for international relations, Willias Madzimure, urged the British envoy to keep her distance from Zimbabwean affairs, insisting the country did not need a foreign diplomat to decide what was good for it.
Ambassador Laing has infuriated opposition parties for allegedly backing Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions to succeed Mugabe.
Mnangagwa is front runner in a fierce tussle for Zanu PF control by party rivals ahead of President Mugabe’s much anticipated exit. PDP said Zimbabweans long rejected Zanu PF, describing as the “gross of all tyranny,” attempts by western embassies to impose Mnangagwa on them.
The party accuses Mnangagwa, among some top Mugabe lieutenants, of visiting atrocities on innocent Zimbabweans in attempts to protect the veteran leader’s rule.
“We express our huge disappointment with the actions and activities of Ambassador Catriona Laing who has recklessly stacked her diplomatic carrier in support of the incorrigible regime in Zimbabwe,” said the opposition.
“We remind her that she must never wish for Zimbabwe what she and the rest of the British people will never accept in the UK.
“The fact of the matter being that the British people will never accept a situation of dominating autocracy or a sky high corrupt government.”
Ambassador Laing has not stopped there, according the PDP.
She has allegedly put her head on the block, vouching for Harare to be reconsidered for IMF funding, something the party felt was outrageous given President Mugabe’s apparent reluctance to repent.
The IMF executive board is due to meet 2 May and top on its agenda is a determination on Zimbabwe’s reengagement programme and its eligibility for further assistance.
President Mugabe’s regime has, in the meanwhile, put on a charm offensive to try and hoodwink the international community into believing it had repented.
This has seen President Mugabe tone down his anti-west rhetoric when he buried two national heroines at the national shrine last week and a surprise relaxation of the country’s tough indigenisation law recently.
Mugabe’s government last week also allowed its main rivals in MDC-T to stage a march against it; the march drew a huge participating crowd. The march, though, needed a High Court order to go ahead.
The PDP urged the international community to see through the Zanu PF led government’s chicanery, insisting it was yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt that “it is on an irrevocable path to both political and economic reforms”.
“We have further argued that at this moment in time Zimbabwe has not earned sympathy because its conduct is still deplorable,” Madzimure said.
“Zimbabwe has not shown proof that it is on an irrevocable path to reform and renewal.
“As of the present moment, Zimbabwe’s huge deficit in the field of human rights, rule of law and constitutionalism is too glaring.
“The state and virtually every other institution have been emasculated by a rabid vampire regime which rule on the basis of fear and fear alone.”
Biti’s party cited Mugabe’s continued victimisation of rivals seen firming up to succeed him, the state failure to account for abducted pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts one year on and the continued existence of repressive laws as some of the indicators the 92 year old leader was not yet ready to surrender his dictatorial habits.
PDP further argued Zimbabwe still had a long way to go to earn the right to get any form of relief, describing the current reform agenda as a “sand castle with no foundation or solidity and will be blown away when the wind comes”.
Madzimure added: “Besides and more importantly it will be a disaster for any country or body to engage with Zimbabwe given the acerbic succession fights in the ruling Zanu PF.
However, what has infuriated the opposition the most is the thought of a British ambassador allegedly turning a blind eye to the glaring issues and fighting Harare’s corner.
“It is sad to note that Ambassador Laing has in the last few weeks been attempting to lobby the US State Department, by-passing the local embassy in the process, with obvious realisation that someone on the ground will not accept her position. A most undiplomatic desire!
“We therefore appeal to Ambassador Laing, whom we are aware will be in London to lobby her higher offices to support Zimbabwe at the IMF Executive Board Meeting on 2 May 2016, that appeasing Zanu PF is tantamount to riding a leopard. It can be very dire!”
The conservatives are curently in power in the UK. Mugabe has previously said that he preferred a conservative government. His rule, which started in 1980, was made possible by an intervention of a conservative PM, the late Margaret Thatcher, who ensured the end of the Rhodesian rule. It was a Conservative government (John Major) which arranged Mugabe’s Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath honour in 1994, seven years after the Zimbabwean strongman put an end to his Matebeleland attrocities whose overseer was Mnangagwa.
Since taking over from Gordon Brown in 2010, British PM, David Cameron, has never publicly criticised Mugabe.