A former senior British, MP Kate Hoey says she wished Zimbabwe had a president of a high calibre like the recently elected Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Hoey's statements seem to pour cold water on President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration's claims that diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe, are on the mend, breaking a two-decade deadlock.
Last week, Mnangagwa attended the United Nations (UN) climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where he had brief interactions with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"So, the RT Hon. Prime Minister (Johnson), did not only extend his hand to me; he also grinned and grinned; that's when I also extended my hand to him, you saw how it started. We became friendly to each other. Boris Johnson will send his minister," Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on his arrival from the UK last Thursday.
However, Hoey seems not to be appreciating Mnangagwa's re-engagement efforts and how he is managing Zimbabwe's affairs with the political and economic situation in the country deteriorating. She also accused Mnangagwa of not respecting the rule of law, not taking action against the rise in corruption, especially in government ministries, and departments, while he continued attacking opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
"If only Zimbabwe had a leader like Hakainde Hichilema. Instead, they have Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who has ignored the rule of law, allowed corruption to flourish, used Covid-19 as an excuse to stop by-elections and encouraged attacks on Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance," she said.
If only Zimbabwe had a Leader like @HHichilema. Instead they have @edmnangagwa who has ignored the rule of law, allowed corruption to flourish,used Covid as excuse to stop by-elections and encouraged attacks on @nelsonchamisa and the @mdczimbabwe https://t.co/NWJcpAZluL
- Kate Hoey (@CatharineHoey) November 6, 2021
Hoey is a former MP for Vauxhall from 1989 to 2019 and is now Baroness Hoey of Lylehill and Rathlin. Last September, she was appointed Johnson's trade envoy to Ghana.
She made the comparisons between Hichilema and Mnangagwa Saturday after Zambia's president had met UK business and opinion leaders at the Chatham House in the UK where he made a commitment to the southern African nation's economic recovery.
However, Hoey's statements on Mnangagwa were not well received by Zanu PF officials and supporters with the party's information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi labelling her "Rubbish".
"Rubbish is your name, madam," Mugwadi hit back on Hoey.
Rubbish is your name madam
- Cde Tafadzwa Mugwadi (@TafadzwaMugwadi) November 7, 2021
A keen follower of the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe, Hoey has on several occasions travelled undercover to the country, which she said would remain a matter of interest for her.
However, the Zimbabwe government has maintained her views cannot be considered objective.