Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said he agrees with United States (US) President Donald Trump's nationalism, and hopes his American counterpart may reconsider sanctions applied against Zimbabwe.
In November, Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu-PF said it was looking forward to a new chapter in US-Zimbabwe relations following Trump's surprise win in the country's presidential elections, after years of strained relations between Harare and Washington.
In his first comments on Trump's presidency, Mugabe this week said he agrees with US President Donald Trump's "America for Americans" policy.
"But anyway when it comes to Donald Trump talking of American nationalism... America for Americans – on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans," Mugabe is quoted as saying by state-owned Herald newspaper.
While critics have already raised red flags over Trump's foreign policy plans, Mugabe said that the American billionaire should be given a chance to prove himself.
"I do not know. Give him time. Mr Trump may even relook sanctions on Zimbabwe," Mugabe said, in reference to the 2003 targeted sanctions imposed by the US on 98 Zimbabwean individuals and 68 entities – mostly farms and legal entities owned by the 98 individuals. Sanctions included asset seizures and travel bans.
During his interview, Mugabe referred to defeated US Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, saying he "did not like Madam Clinton to win either". While Clinton previously compared Trump's economic policies with those of Zimbabwe in the 1990s, which resulted in hyperinflation and a humanitarian and economic crisis, Mugabe officially endorsed Trump in July 2016.
"You see, I knew she could slap sanctions on us as a legacy. Indeed (former US President Barack) Obama did that just before he left. Why did he have to do it?
Mugabe in 2014 claimed Obama and other "imperialists" imposed sanctions on him because they were afraid of him, after the African leader was left out of a US-Africa summit held in Washington.
"Why didn't he leave it to the incoming incumbent to make his own decision? We are just now under sanctions imposed not by Donald Trump but by Obama. What arrogance is that?" the Zimbabwean head of state said in the interview.
Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence in 1980, was nominated by Zanu-PF as its candidate in next year's presidential election. He will celebrate his 93rd birthday on 21 February.