Storm over UK envoy’s tweet

OUTGOING British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, yesterday triggered a fierce social media fight with local opposition parties after she “mistakenly” liked a tweet urging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to tighten the noose on citizens’ freedoms.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Although Laing later posted another tweet claiming her fingers had strayed and pressed the like button for the controversial tweet, the parties were less convinced, as they accused her of openly supporting Zanu PF ahead of this month’s elections.

Laing burnt her fingers when she “liked” a tweet from @ali_naka, which read: “The excessive freedoms now being enjoyed in some parts of Zim need to be put in check as soon as possible.”

“Thanks for flagging. This is a clumsy finger scrolling through my timeline. I did not mean to like. I don’t even recall seeing the original tweet,” she said.

Before the seemingly latest fallout, the UK and United States governments, together with the European Union (EU), were the darling of opposition parties after they imposed targeted sanctions against top Zanu PF leaders fingered in gross human rights abuses and clamping down on citizens’ fundamental freedoms.

Laing’s tweet came after Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) commissioner Netsai Mushonga also courted similar controversy by “liking” a tweet ridiculing the opposition.

“Opposition parties’ fixation with Zec administrative roles betrays gripping fear of electoral loss. Zec has, however, been equally to the task through transparency. Elections are won through people-centred policies, not this hullabaloo on trivialities,” read the tweet liked by Mushonga.

In a recent radio interview, Mushonga said she had no regrets over the controversial tweets, saying she related with the message.

UK-based constitutional law expert Alex Magaisa was quick to point out that such reckless public actions by the Zec commissioner eroded public confidence in the organisation.

“Here’s a Zec commissioner showing some love for a tweet that ridicules the opposition and its efforts to hold Zec accountable and they wonder why the opposition is sceptical of Zec? It’s like watching the referee cavorting with supporters of the other team,” Magaisa said.

16 Comments

  1. Farai J Nhire

    Nations like Uk will always take sides in the politics of the countries where they have economic interests and there is nothing new about it even if they deny. They have always been doing it and the only diference is that this time they have changed their preference from Mdc whose formation they masterminded.

  2. farai J Nhire very true

  3. Never take these opportunists from violent Godless wasteland seriously. They rejoice in other people’s tribulations to settle scores.

  4. Whether this was a mistaken button pressing or not, I think no one should expect the outgoing Lady to sit on the fence. Lets face it, the ball game has changed and so stop crying foul and deal with reality. ED has made tremendous roads into changing the status quo and the world is not stupid enough to not see the glaring positive changes in Zimbabwe they are warming to it. Only those who feel threatened by those changes are still hanging on to the past discrepancies of Mugabe’s rule and painfully likening it to the present. The two are Heaven and Earth, they never meet even though they may share some good things in common. The past is another day, the present and future our responsibilities. Stop crying over a tweet and prepare for the elections.

    1. My brother, this is less about the Zimbabwean people but more of Britain’s interests. The Conservative party is back in power and they have always supported Zanu pf. Thatcher supported Mugabe and now Theresa may is doing the same. Its all about economic interests for the British.

  5. Zimbabwe’s business opportunities are now open to whites only most EU dignitaries cannot hold back their joy like this Lang lady.

  6. Zimbabwe’s business opportunities are now open to whites only most EU dignitaries cannot hold back their joy like this Laing lady.

    1. What business opportunities? Any outsider clever enough to have money to invest is not stupid enough to put in into Zimbabwe and instantly halve its value in exchange for bond notes and Ecocash

  7. kid marongorongo

    why would she support a clueless MDC when a party with noble ideas is there. ED and zanuPf have done a good job so far the deserve support and everyone’s patience to see what will they finish what they have started i see potential in them thats why i will vote for them ED Pfeeee.

  8. What business opportunities? Any outsider clever enough to have money to invest is not stupid enough to put in into Zimbabwe and instantly halve its value in exchange for bond notes and Ecocash

  9. I concur with Farai J Nhire and Sange. There is a vast difference in terms of the world’s perception of a post November Zimbabwe.
    I like this :”Only those who feel threatened by those changes are still hanging on to the past discrepancies of Mugabe’s rule and painfully likening it to the present.”
    Guys prepare for elections.
    What business opportunities in Zimbabwe today? Maybe Joe Cool should ask the likes of Nedbank and Old Mutual to name a few.

  10. The Second Coming

    I failed to see the storm in this article.

  11. But Diaspora, both Old Mutual and Nedbank were already in Zimbabwe during RGM’s government. Give us the new investors who have put money into Zimbabwe. What we are seeing is ED going around commissioning old repainted company shells, expansion projects etc. He is so obsessed with being seen to be making progess that even projects that are planned for 2020 are being officially launced three years in advance. No wonder a certain dunderhead called Chinamasa took the trophy for officially opening one public bin.

  12. Why am i not going through you platform anymore?

  13. gone is the time of sheepishly worshiping parties. principles and policies of parties are what we want. Fight on which principles to vote not parties.

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