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Zimbabwean president fires 11 allies of Mugabe

19 January 2018

In an interview with the Financial Times, Emmerson Mnangagwa said both he and Britain were keen that Zimbabwe rejoin the Commonwealth, and that Brexit would help bring the two countries closer together.

"We want fair free credible elections", he said.

What they've lost with Brexit they can come and recover from Zimbabwe Mr Mugabe dramatically quit the Commonwealth in 2003 after being ordered to restore democracy and the rule of law by other members.Mr Mnangagwa said this was part of the volatile history his country wanted to leave behind as he invited the EU, Commonwealth and United Nations to monitor this year's elections.

It was the culmination of a power struggle between Mnangagwa and former first lady Grace Mugabe, who was being groomed by her husband as his potential successor.

"Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace, because we know it is good for us and we have no doubt that we will have peaceful elections", said Mnangagwa at an official dinner in Mozambique on Wednesday night, a state media video of the leader shows.

Mnangagwa came to power after Mugabe was forced to resign in November. "If the Commonwealth were requesting to come, I am disposed to consider their application", he added. Zimbabwean officials had earlier suggested elections might take place in July or August.

The ruling ZANU-PF party has nominated him as its presidential candidate in the polls.

Since 2000, which coincided with Mugabe's often violent seizure of land from white farmers, elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by political violence and disputes. Analysts say the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has been weakened and divided by the ill health of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is receiving treatment for colon cancer.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union has been strained since 2002 when the bloc imposed sanctions on Mugabe's government after it embarked on the land reform program.

Zimbabwean president fires 11 allies of Mugabe