RWANDAN President Paul Kagame has told President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stop pretending or try to convince other countries that things were good in Zimbabwe.
Kagame said this on the sidelines of the current Africa Green Revolution Forum 2022 also attended by Mnangwa in Rwanda.
Mnangagwa was seen socialising with celebrities like Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair, Chelsea ex-football player Drogba in a bid to spruce his battered reputation.
In a meeting held on the sidelines of the main event Kagame said it was high time the Zimbabwean government addressed the real scenario on the ground.
“You need to work hard to change the perception, you cannot bribe your way through it, you cannot just sweet talk some people, even if they say ok, we agree with you, things will not be fine.
“The way the people of their own country feel about what is happening, it will always come out and before you even convince anyone from outside so that they cannot have a wrong perception about you, convince your own people.
“Make sure they are with you and say look, whatever you are saying, we feel there is change, so concentrate on making sure your people are involved, they are benefiting, they can themselves push back on this story of perception.
“If the country is hungry and people have nothing to eat, they are people who have nothing to eat and when the outsiders are saying it, do not go against them and say why are you saying that my country is starving? When actually people are starving, they are starving,” Kagame said.
This comes at a time Zimbabwe seems to have been immersed in a never-ending economic crisis.
The past two decades have been marked by inflation and hyperinflation, unemployment, informalisation of the economy and the exodus of young Zimbabweans.
Remittances remain a lifeline for many households and small businesses across the country with official information indicating that unemployment has reached 90 percent.
However, the Mnangagwa led government disputes these numbers, arguing that a substantial part of the population works informally.