A respected Zimbabwean government official has come out to defend President Emmerson Mnangagwa against claims that he is “a Mugabe look-alike”, saying that the new president is driving changes aimed at redefining the country and luring investors.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba hinted that Mnangagwa may bring changes to the way Zimbabwe’s government is run, especially in its dealings with investors.
“We need a new institutional framework, arguably akin to what we saw and met in Rwanda. There, one supremely executive and overriding institution deals with investors, deals with them from start to finish, all in 24 hours,” Charamba said in an editorial in the state-run Sunday Mail.
Mnangagwa has come under heavy criticism for making several trips abroad, most recently to Rwanda, Ivory Coast and China. Comparisons have been drawn between his travels and those of former president, Robert Mugabe, another frequent flyer.
But Charamba defended his boss’s travels, saying they were key to Mnangagwa’s efforts to build bridges and lure international finance and investment. He said public cynicism towards Mnangagwa was caused by Zimbabwe’s state bureaucracy that had “bred a corrupt, anti-business outlook for which we have paid dearly”. He said the cynicism was “threatening to blight all that the current president seeks to do; so that (in the minds of the public) there is no Emmerson Mnangagwa – only a Mugabe look-alike.”
Charamba insisted there was “a new vocabulary in the air designed to refocus and redirect national effort towards a pro-business, pro-marketplace culture, but all within structures of national interest and proper, lawful and ethical business practices”.