Thursday, September 12, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Next leader could be a woman: Stevenson
26/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S ambassador to Senegal Trudy Stevenson has expressed the hope that the next country’s next leader could be a woman.

Speaking, in a recent interview with African Press Agency at its Dakar head offices, Ambassador Stevenson argued that a woman president would "certainly raise the country’s profile in virtually every sphere".

Liberia elected Africa’s first ever woman head of state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during the 2007 elections while the Malawian President Joyce Banda succeeded Bingu Wa Matharika who died last year.

Stevenson said incumbent vice president Joice Mujuru who has been in the position since 2004 stood a good chance of taking over from President Robert Mugabe who has run the country since independence in 1980.

Mugabe, who turned 89 this year, was last month re-elected or a new five-year term in office, and analysts see him serving the full term despite concerns over his advanced age and rumoured poor health.
Mujuru has been touted as a possible successor but she would likely be challenged by defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Despite denying harbouring any presidential ambitions, the two rivals are said to be fiercely jostling for the top job behind the scenes with analysts warning that Zanu PF could be torn apart if Mugabe’s succession is no handled properly.

Meanwhile, regarding the post electoral climate in the country, Ambassador Stevenson was categorical, stating that: “there will be no post-electoral violence this year!”

She said Zimbabweans have learnt from their past mistakes in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential poll when scores were killed and injured.

“Generally speaking, Zimbabweans are not violent … we dislike violence and I doubt it very seriously if there would be any election-related violence.” she said.

She explained that “even a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe will remain peaceful and progressive,” adding, “the proof is that Zimbabweans have already yielded to President Mugabe’s call to remain one, united and peaceful”.

The envoy also called on the international community particularly Africans not to believe in the “tales told about my country’s wrongs in the indigenisation and land reform process”.

She asked: “don’t you think it is fair for Zimbabweans to own only 51 percent of the businesses in the country and their land?”

Ambassador Stevenson said bilateral cooperation with Senegal ranges from education, to mining, tourism and agriculture with significant exchanges between the two countries in these areas.

Most importantly, she said that Senegal stands to benefit greatly from Zimbabwe’s experience in dairy farming and tourism in which the country has a comparative advantage.

“But we in Zimbabwe want to learn from Senegal’s experience in how people and animals co-exist in several of Senegal’s animal parks”, the envoy said with a smile suggesting admiration.

She revealed plans by the two countries to strengthen bilateral trade through a joint commission that is expected to meet in Harare soon.

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