Mnangagwa eyes Commonwealth amid Brexit ‘opportunity’

Emmerson Mnangagwa backed Brexit, saying it was a good thing which would bring new opportunities

NEW Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa wants his country to be accepted back into the Commonwealth and said Brexit was an opportunity to forge closer links with Britain.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Mnangagwa wants Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth

Mr Mnangagwa, who took power when veteran dictator Robert Mugabe was forced from office last November, described Brexit as a “good thing”.

He said: “What they’ve lost with Brexit they can come and recover from Zimbabwe.

“When we have engagement, Britain wants to raise the issue about us joining the Commonwealth. I said I’ll be happy to deal with that.

“I personally have nothing against the Commonwealth club.”

Zimbabwe

Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised free and fair elections for Zimbabweans

What they’ve lost with Brexit they can come and recover from Zimbabwe

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mr Mugabe dramatically quit the Commonwealth in 2003 after being ordered to restore democracy and the rule of law by other members.Mr Mnangagwa said this was part of the volatile history his country wanted to leave behind as he invited the EU, Commonwealth and UN to monitor this year’s elections.

He said: “We want fair, free credible elections. In the past those who had pronounced themselves against us, who pre-determined that our elections would not be free and fair, were not allowed to come in.

Robert MugabeGETTY

Robert Mugabe was forced from office last November

“But now with this new dispensation I don’t feel threatened by anything. I would want that the United Nations should come, the EU should come.“If the Commonwealth were requesting to come, I am disposed to consider their application.”

Mr Mnangagwa, a protege of Mr Mugabe, came to power after his 93-year-old predecessor resigned when the military chiefs confined him to his mansion in Harare.

Emmerson Mnangagwa GETTY

Emmerson Mnangagwa backed Brexit, saying it was a good thing which would bring new opportunities

The 75-year-old is now under pressure to deliver on the economy and show he is breaking with Mr Mugabe’s disastrous policies which turned a promising country into an economic nightmare during his 37-year reign.He promised the elections for the presidency, parliament and local government would be peaceful, and told business leaders their investments would be secure and their profits safe.

Since 2000, which coincided with Mr Mugabe’s violent seizure of land from white farmers, elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by political violence and disputes and allegations of widespread fraud and corruption at the ballot box. – The Extress