Financial Times Europe - 14.09.2019 - 15.09.2019

(Axel Boer) #1

14 September/15 September 2019 ★ FTWeekend 5


J O S E P H C OT T E R I L L— HARARE


Even in death, Robert Mugabe inspires
anger and despair. Thirty-nine years
ago, the RufaroStadium in Zimbabwe’s
capital Harare was where Mugabe was
sworn in as prime minister of a newly
liberated and hopeful African nation.


This week, as the body of the deposed
dictator returned to the crumbling
arena for a public viewing, thousands
did genuinely mourn. But for most, the
return of the one-time liberation hero
who died in a Singapore clinic this
month was a painful reminder of his
wastedlegacy.
“I won’t go and see him. Everything is
terribleinZimbabwe,”Admire,ajobless
39-year-old, said outside the arena.
“Those people who are going in just
wanttomakesurehe’sdead.”
As Mugabe’s body lay in state, an ugly
squabble raged between his relatives
and Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson
Mnangagwaoverafinalrestingplace.
After days of wrangling, the Mugabe
familyyesterdayagreedthathecouldbe
entombed in a national monument in
the capital, having earlier accused Mr
Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF
party of “attempting to coerce” his last
rites. The liberation leader turned des-
pot will, however, have a private burial
after state ceremonies this weekend, in
a snub to Mr Mnangagwa, the former
deputy whom Mugabe never forgave for
the2017coupthatoverthrewhim.
Mugabe’s body had been transported
from Harare airport s part of a fleeta of
luxury vehicles, attended by rmed sol-a
diers and an entourage of Zanu-PF sup-


porters. He came home to acountry
with power cuts up to 18 hours per day,
wheredoctorsearn$90amonthandthe
Zimbabwe dollar, once a byword for
hyperinflation,hasreturned.
“We are crying because of him,” said
Walter, a motorist who was craning his
neck for a view of the Mugabe cortege.
Theywerenottearsofmourning.
“Idon’thaveajobbecauseofhim.The
country was destroyed because of him.
Look... they’re taking him to the
Blue Roof,” he said, referring with dis-
gust to the garish, 44-acre mansion

where Mugabe spent his final years.
Mr Mnangagwa travelled there this
week to pay respects to his former men-
tor. “Let bygones be bygones,” he said as
Grace Mugabe, the former dictator’s
wife ,satveiled.“AslongasZanu-PFisin
power and as long as I am lead-
ing... you remain our icon, our
commander, and founding father,” the
presidentsaid.
This week’s infighting has been irrele-
vant for most Zimbabweans who in the
past two years have watched history
repeatitself.MrMnangagwapromiseda
new era but his security forces have
crushed dissent just like Mugabe’s by
shooting protesters and torturing
activists.
Political reforms have stalled under

the new president, and with them the
prospects of international financial aid
tostabilisethecurrency.
“We don’t regret [Mugabe], we don’t
even care about him,” said Annamercy,
owner of a down-at-heel dress shop on
Robert MugabeRoad, a thoroughfare in
downtown Harare. She was too busy
trying to survive Zimbabwe’s economic
collapse, she said: “No electricity, no
transport,nowater,nofuel,nomoney.”
Annamercy and many others were
wary of using their full names to speak
about Mugabe or his successor. Death
has not erased the fear. “It’s not the end
of an era. Nothing will change,” said
Brighton, a security guard who lives on
thebrinkofeconomicpenury.
Mugabe’s funeral is unlikely to bring a
sense of closure for the country. During
the 2017 coup that removed Mugabe,
jubilant protesters hoped for more. On
Robert MugabeRoad they tore the
street signs off the posts and literally
draggedhisnamethroughthedirt.
“I remember marching in this street,
we were saying things must change,”
recalled Tinashe, 27, as he queued two-
hours to buy petrol, another manifesta-
tion of the shortages that have choked
the economy. Of the switch of leader
that briefly raised hopes but delivered
little, he said: “We changed the driver,
thebusisstillthesame.”
Back at the stadium, a man oo scaredt
to give his name said: “We are in hell
afterRobert Mugabe... Zimbabweans
have come to say sorry.” When Mugabe
was deposed, he added “we didn’t know
the faces of the new government were
thedevil”.

I N T E R N AT I O N A L


Zimbabwe


Mugabe divides nation while lying in state


H E BA SA L E H— TUNIS
Dressed in a traditional robe and sur-
rounded by flag-waving supporters,
Abdelfattah Mourou greeted shopkeep-
ers and shook hands with passers-by as
he campaigned in a poor district of
Tunisia’scapital.
A founder of Nahda, the party rooted
in the country’s Islamist movement that
is also the biggest force in parliament,
Mr Mourou is a frontrunner ahead of
tomorrow’s presidential election and
couldmakethesecondroundofthecon-
testlaterthisyear.
“He can unite Tunisians. Nahda has
already brought stability to the coun-
try,” said Mabrouka Ramdani, a teacher
attending the Nahda campaign event in
theTadamonneighbourhoodofTunis.
Yet Mr Mourou is far from the stereo-
type of an Islamist zealot who wants to
impose religious strictures and hardline
sharia law on Tunisian society. A mod-
erate lawyer with a sense of humour, he
once sang Beethoven’sOde to Joy uringd
atelevisioninterview.
His presence on the ballot — Mr
Mourou is one of 26 names that voters
can choose from — is a reminder of how
the north African nation is different
fromothersintheregion.
Tunisia is the only example of a suc-
cessfuldemocratictransitionamongthe
Arab nations that rose up against dicta-
torship in 2011. Voters willbe presented
with a genuine choice, and there is no
regime candidate whose victory is a
foregoneconclusion.
Nahda’s willingness in recent years to
compromise with other political
forces in Tunisia has helped
diminish the polarisation
between the Islamists and
their secular opponents,
analystssay.
Havingagreedtoaconsti-
tution that does not men-
tion sharia law, Nahda has been a
partner in coalition governments


with secular parties since 2015.Three
years ago its members voted to rebrand
as a party of Muslim democrats, shed-
ding the Islamist tag in a move unthink-
able elsewhere in the Arab world. This
will be the first time it has put forward a
presidentialcandidate.
Mr Mourou’s challengers intomor-
row’s vote, which follows the death in
July of 92-year-old president Beji Caid
Essebsi, include Youssef Chahed,
prime minister, and Nabil Karoui, a
media tycoon who will stand despite
languishinginjail.
Kais Saied, a constitutional law
expert with no party affiliation, is
also a dark horse candidate
whose conservatism and anti-
corruption message have reso-
natedwithmanyTunisians.
For Mr Mourou, one benefit of his

bid for the presidency, even if he does
not win, is that it will “reassure” Tuni-
sians that Nahda is a political party
committed to the constitution and not
an “ideological” group waiting to
pounce on power to change the face of
society.
“The era of ideological conflict is
gone,” he said at a press conference in
the capital this week. “This is the time
for social and economic achieve-
ment... we should not hold up our
performancebyfakedisputes.”
Nahda is also competing in legislative
elections next month but, its officials
say, even if it does well, they will govern
onlyinacoalition.
But as Tunisia prepares for its second
presidential election since the
revolution, Mr Mourou and the other
candidates are fighting disillusionment

among a voting public that feels
politicians of all hues have failed them.
Tunisians are angry about declining
living standards in a sluggish economy
that has been scarred by political
upheavals and terror attacks on tour-
ism. Austerity measures under an IMF
programme have led to widespread
angerandperiodicrioting.
“Tunisians are disappointed because
fo rthelasteightyearstherewasbasically
noprogressintheireconomiccondition,”
said Youssef Cherif f the Columbia Glo-o
bal Center in Tunis, part of Columbia
University.“Today’spoliticiansandcan-
didates are the ones being blamed by
themajorityofthepopulation.”
He said he expected this disillusion-
ment to be reflected in a lower turnout
thaninelectionsheldfiveyearsago.
“They all make promises but fail to

honour them,” said shopworker
Mounira Rafaied as she watched Mr
Mourou’s campaign. “We’re suffocating
and living off debt. There is an 80 per
centchanceIwon’tvote.”
A main beneficiary of Tunisians’ dis-
enchantment with their politicians has
been Mr Karoui, the wealthy owner of a
television station who has been able to
tap into the disillusionment. He was
arrested last month on charges of tax
evasion and money laundering, but as
he has not been convicted his name
remainsontheballotpaper.
Businesswoman Lamia Fourati, who
works on his campaign, said he was a

“political prisoner” who had been
arrested because of his popularity and
because his party was poised to “come
first”intheparliamentaryelection.
Mr Karoui has built support among
poorer Tunisians through regular TV
appearances, where he is often seen dol-
ingoutcharitabledonations.
His campaign posters show him
embracing ordinary citizens and kissing
the heads of elderly village women. “He
feels for us [the poor],” said Abdelaziz
Welhazy, who works for a security com-
pany. “The others do not recognise us.”
Mohammed Hazliti, a street vendor,
said Mr Karoui should “go straight from
prisontothepresidentialpalace”.
But even if the poor state of the econ-
omy is weighing heavily on the election,
many Tunisians relish their democratic
freedoms. There is pride in the TV
debates aired this week between the
rivalpresidentialcandidates.
“Even if the present is miserable we
have hope. Ten years ago we faced a
dark future under dictatorship,” said
Mohamed Mohazaby, a student in
Tunis, referring to longtime president
Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali who was
deposed in 2011. “The revolution has
madeusoptimistic.”

North Africa. residential electionP


Poll underscores Tunisia’s fledgling democracy


Voters have a choice of 26


candidates but turnout could


be affected by disillusionment


A vendor sells tags
with photos of the
former dictator in
Rufaro Stadium as
mourners queue to
see Mugabe’s body

E DWA R D W H I T E— TAIPEI


US president Donald Trump will meet
South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in
this month at the UN in New York, as
optimism builds for the rekindling of
talks with North Korea over its nuclear
weapons programme.


The meeting, announced by South
Korea’s presidential office yesterday,
followsasignalbytheNorthKoreanfor-
eign ministry this week that Pyongyang
was willing to restart negotiations with
Washingtonthismonth.
Negotiations between the US and
North Korea have mostly stalled since


February when the second summit
between Mr Trump and North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Hanoi.
Since May, Pyongyang has undertaken
missile and rocket tests, raising fears of
militaryprovocations.
A third meeting between Mr Trump
and Mr Kim, at the demilitarised zone
dividing the Korean peninsula in late
June, resulted in a pledge to resume
talks within weeks, but there have been
fewsignsofprogress.
Many analysts remain sceptical that
the new working-level talks between
Washington and Pyongyang will deliver
concrete progress towards North

Korean denuclearisation. There is also
doubt over what role Mr Moon will play
inanyfuturetalks.
“UntilNorthKoreamanagestosecure
at least waivers and exemptions from
UN and US sanctions, Kim Jong Un
seems to have little interest in talking to
Moon,”saidaSeoul-basedanalyst.
Van Jackson, a former Pentagon offi-
cial,said the key to “whether anything
meaningful happens at the working
level” was whether the US would aban-
don its policy of maximum pressure
through tough international economic
sanctions on Pyongyang, and give up on
itslonger-termgoalofdenuclearisation.

UN gathering


Trump-Moon meeting raises hopes on N Korea


Backing the
frontrunner:
supporters
of Nahda’s
Abdelfattah
Mourou in Ben
Arous. Inset,
a protest in
support of jailed
presidential
contender
Nabil Karoui
Mohamed Messara/
EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

‘Even if the present is


miserable we have hope.
Ten years ago we faced a

future under dictatorship’


SEPTEMBER 14 2019 Section:World Time: 13/9/2019- 18:21 User:john.conlon Page Name:WORLD4 USA, Part,Page,Edition:USA, 5, 1

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