Home » Governance » Should Zanu-PF ‘Be Scared’ of Cameron and His Conservatives?

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has always made clear that he prefers to deal with a Conservative government in former coloniser Britain, pointing out that it was under the Tories that Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980.

In contrast, it was under a Labour administration that the former coloniser reneged on a commitment to fund land reform in Zimbabwe.

And, is if that was not dishonourable enough, Labour went on to impose sanctions on Harare which Mugabe blames for his country’s 15-year-long economic crisis.

“We have always related better with the British through the Conservatives than Labour,” Mugabe said in one interview. “Conservatives are bold, [Tony] Blair and [Gordon] Brown run away when they see me, but not these fools, they know how to relate to others.”

But UK academic Ian Scoones – who has challenged claims in the West that Mugabe’s land reforms ruined agriculture in Zimbabwe, creating chronic food insecurity – recently warned that a Conservative government could be disastrous for Mugabe.

Scoones cited the recent diatribe against the Zanu PF leader by key Conservative figure and former London mayor Boris Johnson, warning that Harare should “be scared, very scared”.

Still, Mugabe got his wish Thursday when David Cameron won a majority which would allow him to form an all-Conservative administration, dispensing with his coalition partners of the last five years.

The veteran leader is still keen to see the sanctions against Zimbabwe lifted completely and normal relations restored between Harare and London.

Despite Mugabe’s confidence however, David Cameron has barely mentioned Zimbabwe since becoming UK prime minister, quietly maintaining the sanctions squeeze on Harare.

Zanu PF’s man in London chose to see a glass half full however.

“From the moment the Tories came into power they started the process of engagement,” Zanu PF’s UK chairman Nick Mangwana told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview Thursday.

“Remember the Friends of Zimbabwe Conference led by Minister Chinamasa in 2013. Sanctions have been incrementally removed. Zanu PF was allowed to formally operate in this country.

“Currently we are working on the return of the remains of our 7 Chiefs who are in British Museums. This all happened under the Conservatives. So we hope this progressive bilateral engagement will continue.”

Still, Scoones warned that the attack on Mugabe by Boris Johnson, who is expected to join Cameron’s cabinet, was a sign Zanu PF could be mistaken about the modern Conservative party.

“Too often dismissed as a posh buffoon, Johnson is a smart and dangerous political operator,” wrote the University of Sussex researcher.

“And if Cameron and co stumble on Thursday, he could find himself in the top position in the Conservative Party, maybe in time even Prime Minister. So read his (Johnson’s) diatribe in this light – and be scared, very scared.

“While pitched as a pre-election jibe at Tony Blair (blaming Blair for appeasing Mugabe), it demonstrated in full flow the narrow-minded, colonial, almost racist, attitude of too many (highly intelligent – and Boris is no fool) commentators on Zimbabwe.”

In response Mangwana said: “Ian Scoones has written a lot very objective papers on the land reform and we have a lot of respect for his opinions but I think his analysis this time might be missing it.

“Boris Johnson despite all the other stuff he said actually acknowledged that Zimbabwe is where it is today because of Tony Blair’s intransigence and failure to honour British bilateral obligations.

“The rest of his diatribe was impinged on his attitude towards game meat. British Foreign Policy is not going to be informed by trivia of whether Zimbabweans eat elephants or not.

“It will be informed by a desire by both countries to reach out to each other and build on well-known common interests and cultural links.”

Source : New Zimbabwe