HARARE – Emmerson Mnangagwa left for New York on Wednesday night, and will make his bow at the United Nations General Assembly as President of Zimbabwe.
The 76-year-old leader, who won a disputed election in July, left aboard an Air Zimbabwe 767 aircraft with a large entourage.
The Zanu PF leader will be without his Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, however. Moyo – who has been undergoing dialysis for years – suffered renal complications this week and is admitted at the Avenues Clinic in Harare.
Mnangagwa, accused of human rights abuses, has been under personal United States travel sanctions since 2001 and will be limited to a 25-mile radius of the United Nations headquarters.
He will use his speech at the United Nations to try and market himself as a reformer, his less inspiring public speaking style replacing the eloquence of former President Robert Mugabe, who had appeared on the UN podium for 37 years before his ouster in a military coup last November.
Mnangagwa, seeking friends with deep pockets to fend off a looming economic implosion, will employ expensive international lobbyists to try and secure meetings with first world leaders and senior diplomats, a source familiar with his engagement plans told ZimLive.
The United States of America, whose support Mnangagwa desperately seeks, remains unconvinced by his reform agenda and has told him to “walk the talk” before a thawing of relations can be contemplated.