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Mnangagwa says I am not a crocodile, I am Shumba

Q: What about the old colonial power? What’s your relationship with Britain?

A: Breaking out of, Brex . . . How do you call it? Brexit, yes it’s a good thing because they will need us. And we will make sure we become very close to them. So what they’ve lost with Brexit they can come and recover from Zimbabwe. And we benefit them, the benefit, that’s the way. It’s a win-win situation. It’s a win-win situation. This is how I look at it myself. I don’t think they’ve any question of domination, no, which I think is a question of mutual relationship. And most importantly, the education system is British. And it’s easier to develop more scientists here with Britain, English-speaking and so on. So it’s far much easier. But we will not put our eggs in one basket as before. Because for instance now I have no doubt we’re going to fly our Hawks again. But for the last 18 years we could not fly our Hawks because Britain was the only country which could give us the spares. And so for the last 18 years they were down. But now with the good lady who is there . . . And with this guy, Johnson . . . Boris. Next year at our independence we’ll be flying Hawks. Because we’re going to now have good relationships with this good lady. And something very interesting as well that Zimbabwe has enjoyed the best relationships with Britain under female prime ministers. They should have continuously female prime ministers. Because they are more sensible than their male counterparts. Yes, I think they are more sensible.

Q: What’s your message to the Queen, the head of the Commonwealth?

A: I can assure you, the Queen has never had any hard feelings towards this country. And we are clear, even our former president was clear, and he told us that the Queen has no hard feelings towards us. We have no hard feelings towards the Queen. The guy we didn’t like is that young man, Tony Blair. I don’t know where he is now.

Q: The economy is heavily indebted. Some people suggest that maybe there should be a scrapping of the bond notes? Has anyone suggested that?

A: No. Fortunately, for instance when the AfreximBank came to visit us on the table was a discussion for a loan of 600m to advance to Zimbabwe. But when I presented my programme and my vision they were so impressed and they upped the facility to 1.5bn. You see? Because they are happy with the way we are going. They are happy with our vision, the way we intended to open up the economy and so on. So we believe that given time we are going to recover. The biggest bad thing we have is the arrears that we have with the banking [?] institutions and so on. But we believe that with what we are doing, for instance, our diamonds, after what we have done now, the projection is that it is going to double from about one million to three million . . . Triple. Yes, from one million to three million carats next year. Or is it this year or next year? That is very important. Also, we have opened our chrome. We banned in the past the exportation of chrome, we’ve opened that. And so far we are three times more than before we opened in terms of the revenue stream coming from that sector. The same with tourism. I think we’ve increased by 20 per cent or 23 per cent, I don’t know. It is also increasing. Now you can see these are indicative indicators to show that the economy is . . . Actually, the minister of finance has raised up the GDP growth. It was 2.7, it came to 3.5, now they are talking about 4.7. And it’s selected to continue to go up. So with that I believe that we should be able to build capacity to deal with our arrears.

Q: But you’d still be looking for a debt relief programme from the IMF and the World Bank?

A: One of the things Britain would want to discuss. May want to review and discuss with us is the question of looking at our debt. I’m now very excited with that. Very excited. Yes. And actually Britain supported us during the Lima, conference in Lima. And they would want us to go back to those promises and move forward. So it’s very promising.

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