(By Estera Popowska)
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe paid a state visit to South Africa on Tuesday for the first time since 1994, VOA reported Wednesday.An analyst David Monyae reportedly said President Mugabe’s visit may represent the first thaw in Zimbabwe’s frosty diplomatic relations with her neighbour South Africa. VOA reported Monyae as saying one reason is that Mugabe, who recently became head of both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, is a little too important to keep ignoring. Also, he noted, Zimbabwe may be turning a corner.
“It signals the start of the stabilization of Zimbabwean politics on one hand and slow coming out of the economic crisis as Zimbabwe engages with the international community. … President Robert Mugabe is currently the chair of SADC as well as the chair of the African Union. So he holds two critical positions in the African continent. That’s his leverage on quite a number of issues,” Monyae reportedly said.
The official reason for this visit, which started Tuesday, is to strengthen economic cooperation between the two nations, said South Africa’s foreign ministry. Since Zimbabwe began its economic decline in the early 2000s, the balance of trade has swung decisively in South Africa’s favour.
President Mugabe was in 2013 elected to his seventh term in an election that some observers said was flawed (Source: VOA)