By Nkosana Dlamini
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for the 6th edition of the Africa CEO Forum where he is also set to meet ex-Nigerian President and one time military ruler Olusegun Obasanjo (pictured).
The two-day forum starts this Monday.
State media reported Sunday the new President will meet Obasanjo who once presided over coup prone Nigeria’s military junta between 1976 and 1979 before bouncing back to become democratically elected President from 1999 to 2007.
“The highlight of the two day conference is touted to be the exclusive inter-presidential panel where Cde Mnangagwa will get an opportunity to dialogue with the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, whose country managed to emerge from a long period of economic isolation during his reign,” said ZBC on its website.
“Nigeria offers a solid example on which to base discussions on strategic priorities that must be implemented to revive Zimbabwe’s economy and rebuild strong and reliable institutions.”
Obasanjo first came into office 1976 after succeeding General Murtala Mohammed who took power as head of state via a military coup.
A career soldier, Obasanjo resigned from the army in October 1979, handing over power to the newly elected civilian president of Shehu Shagari.
Similarly, Mnangagwa was installed as Zimbabwe’s leader following a November 2017 military intervention that ousted then President Robert Mugabe.
Since assuming office, he has been at pains to draw attention away from his controversial assuming of office through overtures to Zanu PF rivals at home and abroad.
He has also scrapped anti-business laws and gone on to extend invitations to foreign investors with pledges to protect their wealth.
The new Zimbabwean leader has tried to keep clear from any heavy handed approach akin to military rule as he tries to lift the country out of a deep economic abyss.
It is not a surprise that he will seek counsel from Obasanjo, who is credited for managing Nigeria’s transition from a tense military administration to civilian rule.
The populous West African country has also successfully ended international isolation with global investors now choosing Nigeria as a destination of choice.