Raise a glass to saving the planet! Zimbabweans stock up on Costco whisky, wine and beer in Glasgow as they hold huge party to welcome president Emmerson ‘the crocodile’ Mnangagwa


Zimbabweans have been spotted stocking up on booze and snacks to celebrate the arrival of their president at the Cop26 climate summit.

In pictures shared by the country’s information minister, two men are seen pushing trollies filled to the brim with bottles of whisky, wine, beer and crisps at a Costco store in Glasgow.

Video shows the men, sporting scarfs with the Zimbabwean colours, wheeling the packed trollies out of the store while saying ‘Cop26 we are ready’.

Another of the men is heard saying: ‘We are welcoming the president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa in Scotland, UK’.

The video was shared by Zimbabwe’s Information Minister, Nick Mangwana, who also Tweeted a video of men and women dancing on a beach as music plays.

But while the video shows a joyful celebration, Zimbabweans have questioned the pictures, with some suggesting it to be a propaganda push by Government officials.

Key facts about Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa

– He is known as ‘the crocodile’ because of his political shrewdness.

– He is also commonly referred to as ‘ED Mnangagwa’ due to his initials

– His faction is called ‘Lacoste’ as a nod to the French sportswear brand, whose logo is a crocodile

– He received military training in China and Egypt in the 1960s

– He helped direct Zimbabwe’s war of independence in the 1960s and 1970s

– He became the country’s spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict

– He has been accused of masterminding attacks on opposition supporters after the 2008 election

– He has survived several alleged assassination attempts, blamed on supporters of predecessor Robert Mugabe

– He has vowed to move away from Mr Mugabe’s policies, including promising to ‘reengage with the world’

– In his inauguration speech he also promised to serve all citizens, reduce corruption, and revitalize the country’s economy

– But while vowing to move away from his policies, Mr Mnangagwa praised his predecessor as ‘a father, mentor, comrade in arms, and my leader’

Others say the video is ‘sending the wrong message’ about the Cop26 conference, which is bringing together leaders from around the world to try and come up with solutions to tackle climate change.

But Mr Mangwana insists no delegates were involved and that the celebrations were organised by Zimbabweans living in the UK who wanted to welcome their president to Scotland.

It is the first time a Zimbabwean state leader has visited the UK in 25 years.

Sharing the video, Mr Mangwana said: ‘Tonight (Monday) there is a massive welcome party held in honour of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

‘Glasgow is the place to be as Zimbabweans from all corners of the UK attend this shindig and welcome their President.  The party will spill over to the streets tomorrow. In the UK? Join the party.’

It is the first time Mr Mnangagwa, known as ‘the crocodile’ because of his political cunning, and often shortened to ‘ED’ Mnangagwa due to his initials, has visited the UK on state business.

It is the first time Mr Mnangagwa (pictured), known as ‘the crocodile’ because of his political cunning, has visited the UK

He was installed as president in November 2017 after his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, resigned following a military takeover and mass demonstrations.

The protests themselves were sparked by the sacking of Mr Mnangagwa as deputy president.

Like his predecessor, Mr Mnangagwa is a member of the political group the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

His faction in the party is known as ‘Lacoste’ – after the French sportswear brand which has a crocodile for a logo.

Yesterday, Mr Mnangagwa met with other world leaders including Boris Johnson and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Cop 26 climate summit

Yesterday, Mr Mnangagwa met with other world leaders including Boris Johnson and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Cop 26 climate summit.

It is the first face-to-face meeting between a UK and Zimbabwean state leader on British soil since then Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair met Mr Mugabe in Edinburgh in 1997.

Relations between the two countries soured quickly after, with Mr Blair pulling out of talks that year to fund Mr Mugabe’s controversial land reforms.

Mr Mugabe, who died in 2019 two years after his resignation, railed against Britain and its political leaders as they opposed the policy and his management of Zimbabwe’s economy.

Britain, the European Union and the United States placed targeted sanctions on the country to punish Zimbabwe over its human rights record, including persecution of journalists and failure to punish the security forces for abuses under Mr Mugabe.

They west have maintained the targeted sanctions, despite Mr Mugabe’s resigning as president.

Last week, UN rapporteur Alena Douhan urged the west to lift the sanctions, saying that they restrict public access to healthcare, food and sanitation.

However there remains concern over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, with Human Rights Watch warning of a ‘decline’ in the situation in 2020 under Mr Mnangagwa’s presidency.

The New York based charity warns suspected state security agents abducted and tortured more than 70 critics of the government last year.

Separately, Amnesty warned that the Zimbabwean government had used the Covid-19 to place ‘severe restrictions’ on freedoms in the country.

‘Women were denied access to essential maternal health care, and violence against women and girls was widespread,’ Amnesty said.

In June last year a UN human rights experts called on Zimbabwe to immediately end a reported pattern of disappearances and torture that appear aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.

Mr Mnangagwa later vowed to ‘flush out a few rogue Zimbabweans’ who he accused of trying to destabilise the country in ‘league with foreign detractors’.

The comments came at the same time as the country’s government faced a wave of social media criticism over video showing security officials beating civilians.

It started the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter trend on Twitter. Celebrities including South African rapper Kiernan Forbes supported the campaign.

Mr Mnangagwa has vowed to move away from the policies of his predecessor, including promising to ‘reengage with the world’.

In his 2017 inauguration speech he also promised to serve all citizens, reduce corruption, and revitalize the country’s economy.

Information minister Mr Mangwana’s decision to post pictures of the celebrations prompted a backlash from some on social media.

One Twitter user wrote: ‘Rest of the world: ‘The world is dying let’s come together and talk about it…’

‘ED Supporters: ‘Let’s go to Costco and buy alcohol’.

‘Nick (the official government spokesperson): ‘Let me promote this on social media.’

Another wrote: ‘Optics are very important, this does not look good.’

One twitter user asked what Zimbabwe was going to do about climate change, promoting a response from Mr Mangwana. He said: ‘We will cover that.

‘We covered bits this morning. For now Zimbabweans are welcoming their president to Glasgow.’

He also replied to those suggesting the men were part of the Zimbabwean delegation to say: ‘No delegate is there.’ – Daily Mail