Zimbabwe’s New President seeks to escape Mugabe’s shadow

Zimbabwe’s New President seeks to escape Mugabe’s shadow

15 June 2018 Friday 18:36
Zimbabwe’s New President seeks to escape Mugabe’s shadow

HARARE, Zimbabwe

The man who deposed longtime President Robert Mugabe is literally wearing his campaign promises on his sleeve six weeks before a historic election: Fight corruption, develop the economy, re-engage with the rest of the world and create jobs.

Emmerson Mnangagwa’s colorful blazer, which also bears his portrait below the shoulder, resembles a model worn by Mr. Mugabe, the man he served for 37 years before ousting him in a military intervention in November.

The question is whether Zimbabweans believe their new leader’s message of change. After more than a decade and a half of broad sanctions, Mr. Mnangagwa has pledged to stem a crippling economic crisis by inviting foreign investors and restarting aid talks with international financial institutions.

“We don’t believe we’re an island anymore,” he said in an interview at his office in downtown Harare. “We should be part of the global community.”

The success of the July 30 vote will dictate the post-Mugabe economic project and Zimbabwe’s efforts to end its status as an international pariah. Foreign governments, including the U.S. and the European Union, have made a credible and peaceful election a condition for reassessing sanctions, support programs and debt relief.

Most private investors looking at Zimbabwe’s platinum, diamond and lithium reserves and infrastructure projects also expect the government to sort out its finances before they commit money.

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