Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE British Government has dismissed as “absurd conspiracy theories” claims by former Cabinet Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo that the United Kingdom is backing President Mnangagwa and his party Zanu-PF ahead of the country’s harmonised elections.
Instead, the UK said it was impartially advocating for a free and fair electoral process and was funding civil society organisations to promote a credible election.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Prof Moyo— who fled into exile during Operation Restore Legacy in November last year — accused the British Government and its Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms Catriona Laing of supporting President Mnangagwa’s administration.
He even attacked Ambassador Laing for wearing a scarf with Zimbabwean flag colours claiming it was confirmation that she had endorsed President Mnangagwa.
The scarf shot to fame in January when President Mnangagwa started wearing it at various public engagements.
Ambassador Laing and the United Kingdom Government used the same platform to dispel Prof Moyo’s “absurd” theories with the British envoy saying she was one of the first people to own the scarf after it was presented to her as a Christmas gift by its designer in December last year.
“@ProfJNMoyo Sorry to put a spanner into your absurd conspiracy theories but my scarf in Zimbabwe flag colours was a Xmas present from the designer so I had it long before anyone else. I’m not supporting anyone or anything other than a better future for #Zimbabwe,” tweeted Ambassador Laing.
The UK Government also shot down Prof Moyo’s claims that it was supporting President Mnangagwa to win the country’s elections.
Prof Moyo had claimed that the BBC Hardtalk interview with MDC Alliance presidential candidate Advocate Nelson Chamisa was biased against the MDC-T leader.
The UK government pointed out that if it did not want a credible election — as Prof Moyo was claiming— it was not going to pour millions to capacitate civil society organisations towards the holding of free and fair elections.
“@ProfJNMoyo knows the BBC is ruthlessly impartial and takes pride in giving all politicians — including and perhaps especially British ones — a hard time. The idea they would take instructions from @ukinzimbabwe is laughable,” tweeted a spokesperson for the UK Government.
“Any actual substantive evidence of bias? We are spending £24 million on support to civil society this election cycle — to try and support #freeandfairelections. Would we bother if we wanted one candidate to win?”
Prof Moyo, one of the G40 kingpins, went into self exile last November at the height of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Operation Restore Legacy meant to target criminal elements that were surrounding former President Mugabe who resigned in the same month.
He has been rabidly tweeting from parts unknown, attacking everything pro-Zanu-PF to the point of paranoia.