William Hague, the Tory foreign affairs spokesman, is rightly concerned about the shipment of Chinese arms which is trying to find its way to Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, but his grasp of African geography is less certain.
On Tuesday he issued a press release calling on David Miliband, foreign secretary “to take urgent action with regard to the Chinese ship, currently heading to Uganda carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe”.
Hague’s intervention sent the Foreign Office into a spin, as officials pored over atlases trying to work out how the Chinese vessel might achieve the unlikely task of offloading its weapons in a land-locked country in the heart of Africa.
Perhaps he envisaged the ship heading up to the Mediterranean, taking a right turn down the River Nile and then making the tortuous journey through sub-Saharan Africa to Lake Victoria. Not sure whether the river is up to taking ocean-going ships though.
“What is he talking about?” asked one government official. So far there has been no explanation from Mr Hague’s team about this strange Ugandan affair.