Zim ‘treason’ letter a hoax, says UK

Correspondence published by Zimbabwe’s state media that was purported to be between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) chief Morgan Tsvangirai is a hoax, the United Kingdom embassy said on Thursday.

”The alleged letter from the British prime minister to Morgan Tsvangirai printed in the Herald … is a forgery. No such letter or wider correspondence exists,” the embassy said in a statement.

”It reflects this regime’s desperation that Zanu-PF and the state-controlled media have resorted to faking documents for crude propaganda purposes and not for the first time,” it added.

Zimbabwe’s government earlier on Thursday accused Tsvangirai of treason, saying he had plotted with Britain to bring about regime change.

Citing the alleged correspondence between Brown and Tsvangirai, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Tsvangirai was begging for military intervention in Zimbabwe after last month’s disputed polls.

”It is clear from the correspondence that Tsvangirai along with Brown are seeking an illegal regime change in Zimbabwe and on the part of Tsvangirai this is treasonous,” Chinamasa told the Herald, a government mouthpiece.

”There are no doubting consequences for acting in treasonous manner,” he added. ”The correspondence confirms Tsvangirai is not his own man and that he is working for the British interests to recolonise Zimbabwe.”

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu also claimed the letter confirmed Tsvangirai was a puppet of the British. ”This is all what we have always said, that MDC is a creation of the British and Tsvangirai a puppet of the British. So Tsvangirai is a puppet of Gordon Brown.”

The Zimbabwe government has consistently accused Tsvangirai of links to Britain, whose prime minister has been one of President Robert Mugabe’s most outspoken critics.

In a speech at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, Brown said ”no one thinks” Mugabe won a March 29 presidential election against Tsvangirai, the results of which are still to be announced.

However, ”Brown has no legal standing to speak authoritatively on the results of the Zimbabwe elections,” Chinamasa said. ”In speaking in the manner he has done at the Security Council, in order to promote nefarious British interests, [Brown is] undermining Zimbabwe’s due process and misleading the international community.”

Zimbabweans went to the polls on March 29 to elect a president, legislators and councillors in a contest that saw Mugabe facing a double challenge from Tsvangirai and former finance minister Simba Makoni.

While the results of the legislative polls were announced a fortnight ago, there is still no word on the outcome of the presidential election. — Sapa-AFP

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