Dubai(New Ziana)-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday opened up for the first time on why he religiously wears his trademark scarf depicting the colours of the national flag.
Daily for more than a year now, he wears the black, green, red, yellow and white scarf, whether on or off duty.
Asked in an interview why he did that, President Mnangagwa said it was because it instantly branded him as Zimbabwean, a nationality he was very ‘proud’ of.
It also symbolised, he said, Zimbabwe’s arrival on the global stage and slow but sure re-integration into the community of nations after two decades of isolation.
Ostracized by the West over its land reforms, Zimbabwe had become almost a pariah state with few friends, let alone those who could give it a hand to face off illegal western sanctions.
But after coming to power in 2017, President Mnangagwa immediately sought to end the isolation, which in the case of the West was accompanied by debilitating sanctions still in place today.
His travel and meetings here with other African leaders attending the fifth edition of the Global Business Forum devoted to Africa-Emirati economic ties is part of his government’s efforts to break the isolation.
“We want to be identified; we want to belong to the family of nations. We are proud to be Zimbabweans in spite of what has happened to our country, we still remain proud and carry our flag,” he said.
He said the scarf was a sign that Zimbabwe longed to belong to the community of nations.
“The last two decades Zimbabwe has been in isolation, but now since the new dispensation which came two years ago, we want to get embraced by the international community. To do so, we must be distinct, if you look around you will see that this one is Zimbabwean.
“So its easy for the rest of nations to identify us. We want to be identified; we want to belong to the family of nations. This is the flag of my country, and we are proud to carry it. There is no other meaning except to say we want to be distinct.
“We are Zimbabweans and we are proud to be Zimbabweans in spite of what has happened to my country, we still remain proud and we carry our flag,” he said.
Zimbabwe had been ostracised by a significant part of the world following its tiff with former colonial power Britain over land reforms
which it carried out involving the compulsory acquisition of excess white-owned farmland to resettle landless blacks.
London mobilised the European Union, the United States and all its western allies to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, and isolate the country diplomatically, among other penalties, in retaliation for the land reforms.
It is against this background that President Mnangagwa, upon assuming office in 2017, immediately sought to engage and re-engage friend and foe alike to open a new page in relations.
Overall, the country has since been re-embraced by the greater part of the international community, though the West appears to be of two minds, or rather double faced.