President Robert Mugabe recently thanked President Donald Trump of the United States of America for defeating “cruel” Hillary Clinton. He was speaking at a youth interface rally in Zimbabwe’s Gwanda, the provincial capital of Matebeleland South. Zimbabwe has been under American sanctions imposed by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. Africa News reports that the country has lost around $42 billion in revenue due to the sanctions which cut Zimbabwe’s lines of credit from all U.S. related multilateral lending institutions.
Speaking to the thousands gathered in Gwanda, President Mugabe said, “We don’t know much about the new President Trump; some say he is impulsive and others even say he is mentally challenged. I do not know. Personally, I say if he is a mad man who could get rid of this woman who angled to succeed Obama, he is a good fool. I was praying that even if he was a fool, at least he would have done what we wanted.”
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This was not the first time the Zimbabwean leader had approved of Trump in comparison with Clinton. In 2016, the veteran leader expressed even stronger faith in Trump when he spoke to U.S. lawmakers, Chris Coons and Adam Schiff who he told, “Once (Trump) is your president, you’ll wish you’d been friendlier to me.”
On his 93rd birthday, President Mugabe said in his commemorative interview, “When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism…America for Americans…on that we agree: Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.” He however, again took time to express his hope for the removal of sanctions saying, “Mr. Trump may even re-look the sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
These two leaders share the ideological fundamentals of nationalism and it is not a surprise that the Zimbabwean president has found Trump’s leadership commendable. However, he had no kind words for “cruel” Hillary.
Mugabe said to the crowds in Gwanda, “Trump did us a lot of good because she (Clinton) was going to bring more sanctions on us with her hatred of the President: very very vicious hatred she has towards Zimbabwe.”
This was also not the first time he has used decidedly anti-Clinton rhetoric. In the birthday interview earlier this year, he said, “You see, I knew she (Clinton) could slap sanctions on us as a legacy. Indeed Obama did that just before he left. Why did he have to do it?”
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There was no love lost between the Clinton and Mugabe as Clinton has previously criticized President Mugabe. After the “We are not gays” open declaration by President Mugabe at the United Nations General Assembly, Clinton said, “I’m guessing the LGBT activists in prison in Zimbabwe would disagree with (Mugabe) if ever given a chance to have a platform.”
In 2009, Clinton had also said she hoped Mugabe would leave office, claiming it was in the best interests of everyone. She also called on South Africa to apply more pressure to get the Zimbabwean leader out of office.
It is not clear why President Mugabe thought Trump could re-evaluate the American position on Zimbabwe but until now, Trump has not developed an African policy. It is probably a manifestation of the “America First” policy which President Mugabe endorsed. No one knows if Zimbabwe comes second in Trump’s list or even features at all but the silence has been deafening. For now, President Mugabe gets to celebrate the uncertainty with Trump which he would not have got with Clinton. Clinton would have made her policy clear from the onset: Zimbabwe Last.