Mugabe developed an almost hysterical hatred for the outgoing Work and Pensions Secretary when Hain served as the Foreign Office minister responsible for Africa. Hain held this job between 1999 and 2001 when Zimbabwe’s headlong slide into ruin began.
To his great credit, Hain was unsparing in his criticism of Mugabe. When President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa studiously looked the other way and ignored Zimbabwe’s descent, Hain attacked him as well.
Mugabe genuinely thought that Hain was running an international conspiracy designed to overthrow him. I was based in Zimbabwe at the time and I used to attend rallies where Mugabe’s loyal supporters waved banners reading “Peter Hain – stop lying about Zimbabwe”.
If you can tell something about a man from his enemies, then all this reflects very well on Hain.