HARARE – The beleaguered Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has congratulated former London Mayor, Mr Boris Johnson, on his election as the leader of the Conservative party.
Mr Johnson will on Wednesday take over the Prime Minister post from Mrs Theressa May who resigned over Brexit.
Posting on Twitter, President Mnangagwa said:
Congratulations @BorisJohnson on your election as leader of the Conservative Party and on becoming Prime Minister of the UK. I wish you good luck for the journey ahead and look forward to building ever-closer ties between our two nations under your leadership.
Mnangagwa’s message comes at a time when the country is trying to reengage the international community, particularly the UK and EU as well as the USA. His diplomatic offensive approach has seen his lieutenants, including Foreign Affairs Minister, S. B. Moyo, frequenting the UK for bilateral negotiations.
Zimbabwe-UK relations have since the turn of the millennium been sour as a result of Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform programme which the European giant viewed as a violation of human rights.
The UK then imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe and later Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth.
In 2017, then Foreign Secretary, Johnson, gave hope to Zimbabwe over the possibility of readmission into the Commonwealth when he said:
We will never forget the strong ties between Britain and Zimbabwe.
His remarks came after the military took over from the then president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. UK government however later backtracked on supporting Zimbabwe’s readmission.
The Zimbabwe government preferred Johnson as Theresa May’s successor.