Mnangagwa invites US president Trump to come and build golf courses in Victoria Falls

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will be “left in peace” with a “lucrative” retirement package, his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

However, Mnangagwa also told the BBC’s Mishal Husain that no-one had been granted immunity from prosecution.

Many Zimbabweans are hoping Mugabe and his family, who became known for their extravagant lifestyles, would be held to account for their actions.

Mugabe was ousted in November following 37 years in power.

In that time, Zimbabwe fell from being known as the breadbasket of Africa to a country which struggled to feed its population. Meanwhile, Mugabe’s wife became known as “Gucci Grace” for her love of luxury goods.

Mugabe and his members of his government, including Mnangagwa, have also been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including killing, beating and raping opposition activists. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Mnangagwa, a former ally of Mugabe who fell from favour before returning to Zimbabwe to become its president two months ago, has promised to clean up corruption within the ruling class.

However, while he told the BBC he had “not given anyone any immunity”, he added: “The new administration will do everything possible to make sure the family lives in peace, undisturbed.”

The president said his predecessor had been given “a very lucrative package”, which included many of the luxuries Mugabe had become used to – including cars, secretaries, first-class travel and trips to Singapore, where he sees doctors.

Mnangagwa would not be drawn on the cost of the package, which had a rumoured value of $10m.

A looming vote

The new president is hoping this tough stance on corruption and focus on reviving the economy will help him stave off defeat in this year’s elections.

However, he was adamant he and the ruling Zanu-PF party would accept the result whatever the outcome.

“If we lose elections, that’s it,” he said. “Whichever party wins the election will proceed to take the reins of power.”

Mnangagwa reiterated his pledge for “free, fair and transparent elections”, saying he would work with Zimbabwe’s other political leaders to ensure the vote was free of violence.

Mnangagwa, who has been accused of organising the violence which has blighted some of Zimbabwe’s previous elections, said the vote would be held before July.

Golf diplomacy for Trump

The interview took place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Mnangagwa has travelled to spread the message that “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

He also said he would be willing to work with US President Donald Trump, who was roundly criticised for labelling African countries “shitholes” earlier this month.

Trump has denied using those words.

“There should not be an enemy I cannot talk to,” he said. “It is a question of international relations. If he came here, I would be able to talk to him.

“I know Americans like to play golf, and I would say come and build golf courses at Victoria Falls.”

– New Zimbabwe


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