BRITAIN’S Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Catrion Laing is reportedly backing former MDC-T national organising secretary and Kuwadzana East legislator Mr Nelson Chamisa to take over the party’s leadership from Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Our Harare Bureau understands that the British envoy recently divulged this to World Bank staff at a function to officially open the Breton-Woods institution offices in Mount Pleasant, Harare.
A reliable source who attended the event said Mrs Laing said Mr Chamisa “represents the future” of opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
Mrs Laing is reported to have added that Mr Tsvangirai had reached his sell-by date.
“She spoke highly about Chamisa, saying the youthful legislator represents the future and she doesn’t have respect for Tsvangirai because he has failed to dislodge President Mugabe,” said the source.
A Harare British Embassy spokesperson tried to downplay the matter by introducing the “non-interference” card.
“The allegations raised are not true. The United Kingdom has no position with regards to the leadership of political parties in Zimbabwe. This is a matter for the people of Zimbabwe.
“The UK will continue to engage with leaders and members of all political parties as is normal diplomatic practice around the world.”
A fortnight ago, Western embassies that have traditionally backed MDC-T snubbed Mr Tsvangirai’s signing of what was supposed to be an “electoral reforms agenda” by major oppositional groups.
But his pact only attracted fringe groups that have never demonstrated any electoral clout.
Of all the Western embassies that had been invited to the signing ceremony, only Australia’s chief envoy, Ms Suzanne McCourt showed up.
Ms McCourt told our Harare Bureau that she was “just observing”.
“I would rather not give you a comment about this. I am just observing,” she said.