Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe Africa Politics Today

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Zimbabwe and the European Union began political talks on Wednesday aimed at turning the page on hostile relations during Robert Mugabe’s rule, a step that could enable a resumption of direct financial aid for the ailing economy. During Robert Mugabe’s four-decade rule until 2017, he would routinely blame European “colonialists” for Zimbabwe’s problems, and snarled at EU and U.S. sanctions for rights and vote abuses. The EU has only kept sanctions on Mugabe, his wife and the state arms manufacturer, but is yet to resume direct funding to the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, preferring to channel money through local charities and U.N. agencies. With the economy afflicted by dollar shortages, fuel queues, power-cuts, and soaring prices, Mnangagwa has said restoring ties with the West and multilateral lenders like International Monetary Fund is one of his major priorities. At the start of the open-ended talks between diplomats and officials in Harare, EU Zimbabwe delegation head Timo Olkkonen said they would discuss issues including economic development, trade, investment, rights, rule of law and good governance. The government has already signed up to an IMF monitoring programme where it has committed to political and economic reforms in a bid to set a track record of fiscal discipline that could earn it debt forgiveness and future financing. At a separate event in a Harare hotel, Mnangagwa signed a new bill creating a tripartite negotiating forum intended to bring labour, business and government together to shape policy. The 76-year-old leader is under pressure…

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