British ambassador to Harare, Catriona Liang has hit back at Jonathan Moyo’s claims that Zimbabwe’s former colonial master was backing President Emmerson Mnangagwa in elections expected later this year.
Moyo, using microblogging site Twitter, accused the British of making pronouncements that were prejudicial to the elections and using the BBC to prop up Mnangagwa and undermine the opposition.
The former Higher Education minister accused Liang in particular of backing Zanu PF after she emerged from the British PM’s residence draped in a scarf made in Zimbabwe flag colours that has become Mnangagwa’s trademark.
“A ruthlessly impartial fact for @UKinZimbabwe: its bad to see @CatrionaLiang1 coming out of 10 Downing Street (seat of British power) wearing a dictator’s voodoo scarf and worse for #UK to use @BBCHARDtalk to subvert the will of Zimbabweans on behalf of an incumbent mass murderer as it did in 1980,” said Moyo.
Former President Robert Mugabe led Zanu to victory in the first all-race elections in 1980 against the odds that had favoured another nationalist Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu party to win.
Liang did not waste time: “Sorry to put a spanner into your absurd conspiracy theories but my scarf in Zimbabwe flag colours was a Christmas gift from the designer so I had it long before anyone else. I am not supporting anyone or anything other than a better future for #Zimbabwe.”
Her claim were supported by the embassy in a tweet in which it was revealed the UK will pour 24 million pounds to “support” civil society efforts towards free and fair elections.
“Any substantive evidence of bias? We are spending 24 million pounds on support to civil society this election cycle to try and support #freeandfairelections. Would we bother if we wanted one candidate to win?,” the embassy asked rhetorically.
Moyo was not done yet arguing that if indeed the UK has so much money to pour into supporting electoral processes: “Transparency is key. How and who gets the 24 million pounds? In the @BBCHARDtalk your guy @stephensackur exposed #UK government by claiming Mnangagwa has ensured all poll needs are in place but @nelsonchamisa disagreed.”
MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa appeared rattled when he was called out on a number of claims during an interview by BBC HardTalk anchor Stephen Sackur last week.
Sackur has been at the receiving end of brickbats from Chamisa’s supporters on social media who felt he was pushing a “Zanu PF agenda” during the interview.