Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he is ready to have a private conversation with Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain collapsed during Blair’s tenure after the Southern African country embarked on a land reform programme at the turn of the millennium.
This in part resulted in the imposition of economic sanctions by the European Union, the United States and much of the Western world.
Diplomatic relations between Britain and Zimbabwe have progressed positively since the military intervention in 2017 which ushered in Mnangagwa as the late Robert Mugabe’s successor.
Blair, who now heads the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, told CNBC Africa recently of his wish for the Zimbabwean Government reform agenda to succeed. He said he was prepared to meet President Mnangagwa privately in order to help facilitate the mending of relations.
Last week, a spokesperson for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change told The Sunday Mail that Mr Blair would be “happy” to meet President Mnangagwa. In an interview with CNBC Africa, Mr Blair, who resigned from the British premiership in 2007, was asked how acrimonious his relationship with Zimbabwe was.
“I think acrimonious was probably an understatement,” said Blair, adding, “I am happy to speak to (President) Mnangagwa, but these things are best done in a private way.
“I was actually thinking about Zimbabwe the other day. I think, at certain points, there were misunderstandings, not genuine disagreements. If Zimbabwe were to get its act together it would be an exciting place to be.”
This is not the first time Blair has hinted that he wants to meet Mnangagwa.
Last year, Blair formally requested a meeting with President Mnangagwa when he attended the Rwanda Liberation Celebration Day in Kigali. The meeting, however, failed to materialise after a scheduling mix up.