Monday, 24 September, 2018

No immunity for ex-First Lady Grace Mugabe, Mnangagwa declares

President Emmerson Mnangagwa President Emmerson Mnangagwa
| 27 January, 2018, 20:34

Under the 37-year leadership of former President Mugabe, observers from most western countries such as the U.S., Britain and others in the European Union, were denied permission to observe elections, over allegations of bias, leaving that responsibility to mostly African nations or countries considered more sympathetic to Zimbabwe.

The country left the Commonwealth in 2003 after the former President Robert Mugabe, disagreed with the club's decision to suspend Zimbabwe indefinitely at the Abuja Summit.

Under Mugabe, who had ruled since 1980, Zimbabwean elections were marred by vote-rigging, intimidation and violent suppression of the opposition.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe says he has not granted former First Lady Grace Mugabe immunity from prosecution. "We don't want to think along racial lines, that is the philosophy of the past".

He said Zimbabwe was keen to forge viable relations with the worldwide community, adding that even the US was welcome to invest in the country.

Questioned whether he would allow observer missions from the likes of the European Union (EU) in, he answered: "If you have that criteria, why would you want to deny global observers coming to our country?" While the world's two biggest platinum companies, South Africa's Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., operate mines in Zimbabwe, they have slowed investment plans because of concern over the ownership law. "Whichever party wins the election will proceed to take the reigns of power".


Zimbabwe is "open for business" and will seek to rejoin the Commonwealth, its new president said this morning.

The elections, which were previously expected in late July or August, will choose the country's president and both houses of parliament.

"We have not given anyone any immunity", he said, but added that Mugabe had been given a "very lucrative package" that included a salary, allowances and first-class travel.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has been weakened by splits, and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in poor health as he battles cancer.

Under Mugabe, the economy collapsed after land reforms in 2000 that saw white-owned farms seized.

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