Johannesburg – Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa met his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Thursday, his first international trip since he replaced Robert Mugabe following a coup in November.
He was also in the country to address a business forum and the Zimbabwean diaspora as he seeks to attract investment back to Zimbabwe, which suffered years of economic decline under former president Mugabe.
Huge crowds gathered outside the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria awaiting Mnangagwa.
After meeting the Zimbabwean leader known as “The Crocodile” for his cunning, Zuma told the press that they had discussed Mugabe and agreed he would be “looked after.”
“There will be no problem [Mugabe is] our father.
“What’s important in Africa is we should look after our elders who have played a role” in liberation struggles,’’ he said.
In November the Zimbabwean army staged a bloodless takeover, which ultimately forced Mugabe, a liberation hero who had ruled the country with an iron fist for almost four decades, to resign.
The new government has said that it will not be prosecuting the 93-year-old for alleged corruption and human rights abuses, and is instead reported to have given him a generous retirement package.
Many South Africans have called for Zuma himself a former freedom fighter to be recalled, prosecuted or forced to resign after a raft of corruption scandals.
Zuma praised the Zimbabwean army’s handling of the situation, noting that “in a number of countries, if the army decided to stand up then they leave a trail of destruction.
“That was not the case in Zimbabwe,’’ he said. (dpa/NAN)