Mnangagwa says willing to meet Mugabe

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VICTORIA FALLS: President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he is willing to meet his predecessor Robert Mugabe who has demanded a meeting with him.

The two have not formally met since November last year and have been communicating over the phone.

Mugabe, on Thursday, told journalists in his first press briefing since he was forced out of power in November last year on the back of a military coup, that he wants to “help” Mnangagwa “return to legitimacy”.

Mnangagwa became President during the coup.

Mugabe, whose forced resignation ended a 37 year rule, said as much as he would want to work with President, the incumbent must be legal in is post.

However, while Mugabe was having his presser, President Mnangagwa coincidentally was briefing journalists in Victoria Falls where he also strongly spoke about his desire to meet his former boss.

President Mnangagwa had just finished addressing chief executives at an Africa Round Table in Victoria Falls.

“We discussed with former President and had arranged that we would meet at his house where I was supposed to visit with the current administration for his birthday. However, on that day I was in Bulawayo and I couldn’t, but not to say my other colleagues were not there in Harare,” said Mnangagwa.

He said they could have met last month but he (Mnangagwa) went on a state visit to the DRC while Mugabe also left for South Africa.

“We said when I come back we will arrange. If we had met it would be easy for you to know because it won’t be a secret,” added President Mnangagwa.

He said he respects Mugabe who has also been quoted saying he doesn’t hate Mnangagwa.

Mugabe said he was willing to assist President Mnangagwa if “invited properly”, adding that he feels “isolated” currently.

Last month, however, the former Zanu PF leader told AU chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat that he was unhappy with the way he was pushed out of power demanding that the continental body assists with “restoring constitutionalism”.

Mugabe has since offered his support to a new political outfit known as New Patriotic Front comprising mainly of leading figures of a Zanu PF faction known as G40 for which the former President was seen as “godfather” in the internal power struggle before the coup.