On Thursday, a businessman snapped up Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s red neck tie for $15‚000 at an auction in Victoria Falls.
Tafadzwa Musarara‚ the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson‚ beat other bids with the closest being $10‚000 by Bernard Chiondegwa‚ a construction company executive‚ during the ongoing CEO Africa Roundtable at Zimbabwe’s leading resort destination.
"The money will be donated to Victoria Falls Hospital‚" said the master of ceremonies. Bids started at $1‚000.
Mnangagwa opened the roundtable meeting that brings together close to 200 international and local business leaders from public and private sectors. Since coming into power through military assistance‚ Mnangagwa has been preaching that "Zimbabwe is open for business" as he tries to restore investor confidence in the country.
Earlier this week‚ SA’s NKC African Economics — an investment analyst firm — said the end of president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule in Zimbabwe has improved the country’s creditworthiness. But there have been mixed views about Mnangagwa’s first 100 days in office.
His rival‚ Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)‚ said it has been a "100 days of sorts". "In as far as we are concerned‚ the 100 days so far have been 100 days of disappointment‚ a 100 days of misses‚ 100 days of under-performance, and 100 days of failure to deliver‚" he told journalists.
One of Mnangagwa’s key rallying points has been re-engagement with the West. He has granted interviews with leading international news media and rubbed shoulders with the who’s who of global economics at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.
Appearing before parliament on Wednesday‚ foreign affairs minister‚ retired lieutenant-general Sibusiso Moyo‚ said Harare was engaged in negotiations regarding Zimbabwe’s readmission to the Commonwealth.
"The process at the moment is that there are necessary processes and consultations taking place‚ which should inform the executive‚ so that the process of rejoining the Commonwealth can be undertaken‚" he said.
However‚ buy-in from the West will be determined by how the general elections, due later this year, go in terms of being free and fair.