South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said after being appraised by newly-appointed Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, he now has a clearer picture of what transpired in Harare, regarding the removal of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.
“We have had a very good discussion and I’m very happy that Comrade President [Emmerson Mnangagwa] did come because I am more clearer now about the situation in Zimbabwe. It confirmed what I could observe from a distance – that it looks like there is stability now in Zimbabwe. I also commended the manner in which the army, when it had a concern, how it handled the situation. The situation could not go out of hand,” said Zuma after a meeting with Mnangagwa in Pretoria.
“I think it indicated the maturity of the Zimbabweans in handling any situation that will develop. We are grateful for that because in a number of countries, if the army decides to stand up, they leave a trail of destruction, generally. In Zimbabwe I think they were able to be under control and indeed, finally the situation was controlled politically.”
Zuma praised Mnangagwa for his leadership role in the peaceful transition which ushered in a new era for the landlocked Southern African nation.
“He has been able to stabilise the situation, and I had to thank him very much for that,” said Zuma.
Mnangwagwa was in Pretoria on his on his first international visit after taking over from Mugabe who resigned under a cloud last month.
The now President of Zimbabwe temporarily fled to South Africa early last month after he was fired as deputy president by Mugabe. The move later proved to be the downfall of the 93-year-old who had been at the helm for 37 years.
Mugabe resigned under pressure from his Zanu-PF party, the army and the Zimbabwean public, leading to the return of Mnangagwa, who has since been sworn in as president.
On Thursday, Zuma said he had been assured by Mnangagwa that Mugabe “will be taken care of”.
“What I was also humbled with is the guarantee that he has given that the founding president of that country, President Mugabe will be looked after, there will be no problem at all. He is our father. He grew us in the struggle, and I appreciated it. This is what is important, that in Africa we should take care of our elders who played a role in our countries,” said Zuma.
Speaking to journalists at Zuma’s official residence in Pretoria, Mnangagwa said the main focus of his new administration is to revive the ailing economy, and to heighten cooperation with other countries.
“My administration will focus on economics, and trade cooperation. South Africa is the biggest trading partner of Zimbabwe … there may be challenges but as brothers and sisters, I came to assure President [Jacob] Zuma that we should feel open to discuss any challenges in order to grow our respective economies as well as to grow our cooperation,” said Mnangagwa as he emerged from the meeting with Zuma.
Earlier on Thursday, Zuma warmly received Mnangagwa, who was on his first working visit out of Zimbabwe since he took office last month. Mnangagwa was accompanied by several Zimbabwean senior officials including Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Ambassador Isaac Moyo, who was recently appointed director-general of Zimbabwean intelligence services by Mnangagwa.
– African News Agency (ANA)