Mnangagwa rightful victor of Zim elections, says Mugabe

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Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice-President, frican Development Bank (AfDB), Tunis; Global Agenda Council on Poverty and Economic Development captured during the Launch of the Africa Competitiveness Report Press Conference held during the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 held in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 May 2011.

Mr Mugabe, 94, on Thursday said: "There was an election".

"It sounds very encouraging especially on the choice of finance minister".

"I hope the president will permit those ministers to exercise their skills without interference".

Robert Mugabe has forgiven Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who threw him out of power a year ago, and says that the new president is the right man to rule Zimbabwe.

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Mining generates more than half of Zimbabwe's foreign export earnings and Mnangagwa has said the sector, which is attracting investors in lithium mining, will anchor future economic growth.

The military past year intervened after expulsions of ZANU-PF officials that were sympathetic to Mnangagwa, then Mugabe's deputy, and to stop the presidential ambitions of the wife of the veteran former leader. "We want to grow, modernise, mechanise our economy", he said. Former Olympic swimmer Kirsty Coventry, 34, was named sports minister. The Mugabe-era stalwarts dropped include former finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, former information communication technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira and former home affairs minister Obert Mpofu.

Mugabe, who had adamantly refused to recognise his former aide's legitimacy during the stretch between the coup and the July 30 election, said this was because "politics now lead the gun", a statement to mean the country was now under civilian as opposed to military rule.

Mrs Mugabe told the gathering that it is high time the Mugabe family bury their differences, mend relations with President Mnangagwa and respect the will of the people who voted him into power.