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You Need to Convince Zimbabweans First – Paul Kagame tells Mnangagwa How to Change the Country

Paul Kagame said that Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa needs to gain the support of the Zimbabweans first before considering the foreigners. “You can’t bribe your way through,” he said.

It is not a secret that Zimbabwe is in a shambolic state right now and public services have virtually collapsed. The country has been brought to the ground through mismanagement and unabated corruption. The country is mired in dire straits.

The Rwandan president came out offering a piece of advice to the country’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa saying that he needs to convince his people first before he tries to lure foreigners to do business in the country. He urged Mnangagwa to engage the people of Zimbabwe first before taking into account the foreigners.

Kagame was speaking to Zimbabwean journalist Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa on the eve of Rwanda’s 25th liberation commemorations in Kigali.

He insinuated that there is a deficit of trust between the people of Zimbabwe and their president. Kagame made mention of the fact that there is a lack of social contract in the country and that this must be put back in place so that the country can get rid of the negative perceptions that circle around it.

The key is to win the support of the locals before inviting foreigners over, Kagame said.

“You need to work hard to change the perception. You can’t bribe your way through. You can’t just sweet-talk some people and think, even if they say ‘ok, we agree with you’, things will be fine, no. You keep doing your best,” Kagame said.

He added, “The Zimbabweans are irreplaceable in dealing with their own country. It has to be practical.”

“I hope all of us understand. Even for us, we want to show we want results. We don’t want anybody to give us credit for nothing.

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“We want to do something and convince our own people, later on convince these outsiders who, or sometimes who would never be convinced. The moment you are with your people, it’s a done deal.”

“So, for us it is to say we can be with you, and work with you and share whatever we can from outside but it’s a responsibility of the Zimbabweans as has been of Rwandans. When it comes to Rwanda, there is no question about it.”

Many people have condemned Paul Kagame of rampant human rights abuses in Rwanda and a clampdown on dissenting voices. Hence they have been saying Kagame is being hypocritical giving advice to Mnangagwa.

But in some quarters, what Kagame said makes a lot of sense. Mnangagwa has tried to gloss over the country’s unending, entrenched problems by engaging Public Relations firms and lobbyists. This has been very costly for a broke country. And yet, no results have been witnessed.

Lobby groups were engaged in order to remove US sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Kagame also said that Zimbabweans need to be patient with Mnangagwa considering that the country’s problems are so complex that they cannot be solved overnight.

What Kagame does not take into consideration however is that it was Mnangagwa and much of his cronies who were part of the Mugabe administration that destroyed the country’s economy into pieces, almost beyond repair.

Kagame said, “The problems they have, like any other country, cannot be resolved overnight.”

“Certain things have got to be done by Zimbabweans themselves. They have to do things in a different way, they are going to change.”

“When you are under sanctions, you are being denied the tools to apply, to actually change the situation.

“So, you can’t be the same person who has applied the sanctions and then you say ‘I want you to change in a very short time’ … “

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Written by MT

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