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New British ambassador to Zimbabwe seen taking tougher line on Mnangagwa

by zimlive
08 Jan 2019 at 09:42hrs | Views
Britain's new ambassador to Zimbabwe Melaine Robinson began her tour of duty on Thursday after presenting her credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.

Robinson, a former World Bank executive, replaces the controversial Catriona Laing, whose tour ended last September when she was named Britain's new ambassador to Nigeria.

"I'm delighted to start work today," Robinson told journalists. "The United Kingdom is committed to the success of Zimbabwe. I can reiterate our commitment to everything we can do to help Zimbabwe along the pathway to a brighter and prosperous future in the interests of all the citizens of Zimbabwe based upon strong and sustainable fiscal and economic reforms and human rights.

"I look forward to working hard and continuing to reinforce the relationship between our two countries for the interests of our people."

Robinson was attached to the World Bank Group in Washington as an Executive Director for the United Kingdom before her latest assignment.

She joined the World Bank in 2015, having been with the Department for International Development DFID since 2000.

"I will be talking to Zimbabweans from all walks of life to understand what kind of a future Zimbabwe they want and what else that the UK and the international community can do to help Zimbabwe fulfil its great potential," she said.

Her predecessor, Laing, was accused of cosying up to the military regime that took over power in November 2017 following the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe.

Laing drew opposition attacks when she was seen wearing a scarf that has become the symbol of Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa during a trip to London where she worked feverishly to market the democratic credentials of the Zanu PF strongman – one of Mugabe's most brutal enforcers.

Robinson, according to diplomatic sources, will take a harder line and press Zimbabwe's rulers to embark of key reforms to strengthen the country's human rights and electoral framework ahead of the next elections in 2023.

"You can expect Robinson to be more in step with the Americans in insisting that sustainable economic, political and electoral reforms must be implemented first before any bailouts can be advanced to Zimbabwe," a diplomatic source told ZimLive.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo made his first official engagement since September last year as he joined Mnangagwa in welcoming Robinson and two other ambassadors.

Moyo was taken ill with a kidney ailment which kept him away from work for over three months.

Mnangagwa accepted the credentials of Santiago Gomez-Acebo, the new ambassador for Spain as well as those of James Musoni, Rwanda's new envoy.

Source - zimlive