DAKAR (Senegal) — Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal Trudy Stevenson has expressed hope that the next leader of the country could be a woman.
Stevenson argued that a woman president in Zimbabwe will certainly raise the country’s profile in virtually every sphere.
She alluded to Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who has been in the position since 2004.
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 Mutharika who died last year.
Touching on the post-electoral climate in Zimbabwe, Stevenson was categorical: “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-(President Robert) Mugabe Zimbabwe will remain peaceful and progressive,” adding, “the proof is that Zimbabweans have already yielded to Mugabe’s call to remain one, united and peaceful”.
Stevenson 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% of the businesses in the country and their land?”
Touching on the bilateral co-operation with Senegal, Stevenson said it ranges from education to mining, tourism and agriculture with the significant exchanges between the two countries.
Most importantly, she said that Senegal stands to benefit greatly from Zimbabwe’s experience in dairy farming and tourism in which the landlocked 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 will be holding soon in Harare.