23 November 2017

Mozambique: Baloi Expects Improvement in Relations With Zimbabwe

Maputo — Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi declared on Wednesday that he believed the current upheavals in Zimbabwe will influence relations between Mozambique and Zimbabwe for the better.

In the first public statement by any Mozambican leader since the Zimbabwean military seized control of the country on 14 November, Baloi said that, if the resignation of President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday had any impact on cooperation between the two countries, it would be a positive one.

Cited in Thursday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Baloi, who was speaking to reporters at an international conference, said “if the Zimbabweans took the measure they took, it's because they believed they should give a new impulse to the pace of development and growth of their country”.

“The Zimbabweans have written their own history”, he added. “They faced a problem, they solved it between themselves, they seem satisfied with the solution, and that's what matters”.

Baloi said that the Mozambican authorities have been following events since the first moment of the military intervention, but until now had made no public comment, on the grounds that “in these situations, discretion is important”.

At the age of 93, Mugabe finally fell after he had succeeded in alienating constituencies that had once been loyal to him - including the military, the veterans of the liberation war, and the leadership of his own party, ZANU-PF.

After a few days of procrastination, he resigned just as the Zimbabwean parliament was beginning the legal procedures necessary to impeach him.

Mugabe precipitated the crisis by sacking Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 6 November, after a very public dispute between Mnangagwa and the President's wife Grace Mugabe.

Sacking someone known to be very close to the army leadership was bound to backfire, and led directly to Mugabe's downfall. Mnangagwa has now returned to Harare after a brief exile in South Africa, and is expected to be sworn in as President in the very near future.

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