Famed American boxer Floyd Mayweather has caused controversy by publicly endorsing President Emmerson Mnangagwa and urging Zimbabweans to vote for him in next week’s election.
Mayweather was flown into the country by gold trader and Zanu-PF politician Scott Sakupwanya, who is running for parliament in Mabvuku constituency. The boxing champ met privately with Mnangagwa at State House on Friday.
Speaking to the press, Mayweather gushed about Mnangagwa, calling him “unbelievable” and “for the people.” He pledged his “100% support” and said Mnangagwa’s victory would be “a win for a great cause and for the people of Zimbabwe.”
“I wanna call Zimbabwe one of my homes and I wanna give back to the people in Zimbabwe; that’s what we (with President Mnangagwa) have been talking about today, you know just helping the country of Zimbabwe.
“The President is unbelievable. He is for the people and I told him he… pic.twitter.com/75oMhYMksl
— Nick Mangwana (@nickmangwana) July 15, 2023
Many have criticized Mayweather’s intervention, pointing to Mnangagwa’s criticized rights record and claims he has been as repressive as Robert Mugabe. Critics say Mayweather has been misled or paid to endorse Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa faces 10 candidates in the election, most notably Nelson Chamisa of the CCC party.
Sakupwanya has spent large sums trying to win parliament in Mabvuku.