By Staff Reporter
FORMER senior British MP Kate Hoey has expressed displeasure after Tony Blair and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s picture in Rwanda went viral whilst labeling the Zimbabwean leader as a neo-dictator and human rights abuser.
In a picture that was captured in Kigali during the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2022 Summit, Mnangagwa appears jovial whilst shaking Blair’s hand.
Hoey however reprimanded Blair for seemingly legitimising Mnangagwa’s reign in Zimbabwe.
“What on earth was Tony Blair doing being so close up and personal with the human rights abuser @edmnangagwa.
“Zimbabwean people need help to ensure free and fair election next year, not support for a neo dictator,” Hoey said.
Responding to Hoey’s remarks on Twitter, presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, scoffed at the former British MP saying her sentiments were baseless given that she along with other Britons had paid the ZANU PF first secretary a courtesy call.
“Incidentally, Kate Hoey made a visit to Harare alongside a handful of British MPs during which she met the President of Zimbabwe, Dr ED Mnangagwa, at his Munhumutapa Offices,” Charamba said.
Mnangagwa and Blair participated in a plenary session on accelerating food systems in times of crisis at the (AGRF) 2022 Summit.
Blair had an extremely sour relationship with Zimbabwe during and after the land reform programme and was one of the leaders who drove the campaign for sanctions against the southern African nation.
In 1997, Blair’s Labour party government pulled out of talks to fund Zimbabwe’s land reforms following allegations of abuse of funds by the then Mugabe led government embarked on the land reform programme.
Following actions by the Labour party, Britain also withdrew development aid and sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe by the European Union in 2001.