- Bitter Foes: Donald Trump, Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe says he was “surprised” by the election of Donald Trump as United States president and his regime is bracing for tougher sanctions.
In a rare admission, Mugabe said the sanctions had had a devastating effect on him personally and the national economy.
“I was surprised by his (Trump’s) election. He’s radical and is for sanctions which we suffered from for so long,” Mugabe told state-run television.
State media claimed the sanctions had cost the economy $42 billion. Mugabe has previously dismissed the sanctions as ineffectual.
- Best friends: Mugabe with America’s former number one enemy, Fidel Castro.
Trump vowed during his election campaign in 2016 to tighten the screws on Mugabe who has used political murder and mayhem to stay in power for 37 years. Mugabe dismissed Trump’s statement at the time and labelled the then Republican Party candidate “Hitler’s grandson”. Mugabe told aides that he expected Hillary Clinton to win and maintain the Democratic Party’s softer stance towards Harare. Under Barack Obama, Washington eased the sanctions imposed by George W Bush in 2001 and gave Mugabe more than $1 billion under the guise of “emergency aid”. Analysts say that is about to change and Mugabe could be living his last days as president after routinely rigging elections to stay in power for nearly four decades marked by massive repression, political murder, corruption and misrule. Up to nine million Zimbabweans have fled the country and thousands have sought refuge in the USA.
Trump is set to issue an executive order before the end of February 2017 renewing the sanctions against Mugabe and top regime figures.
Mugabe, who is the world’s oldest leader at 93, is partially blind and can hardly walk, has vowed to remain president until he dies. He faces internal rebellion from military generals, intelligence officers and civil servants who have previously propped him up when he lost elections but refused to step down.
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