WATCH: What's the story behind Mnangagwa's scarf?

2018-07-26 11:38
Emmerson Mnangagwa (Picture: AFP)

Emmerson Mnangagwa (Picture: AFP)

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The scarf worn by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been the talking point for many over the past few months.

Mnangagwa was first seen wearing the scarf - inscribed with the Zimbabwean flag colours - in January 2018 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, as reported by AfricaNews.

Since then, the scarf has become a fashion statement for Mnangagwa, with him rarely being seen without it.

Watch the video and social media reaction below

There is even a dedicated hashtag - #EDscarf - on social media for all things related to the Mnangagwa and his scarf.

People's reactions have been mixed, with some loving it to the point of acquiring their own. Others, however, have disapproved, saying that there could be a "hidden meaning" which can possibly be drawn back to Mnangagwa's ruling Zanu-PF party.

But just how did Mnangagwa end up wearing the scarf? According to BBC, owners of a fashion start-up, Celia Rukato and her mother, contacted the Zimbabwe's ministry of foreign affairs before the Davos summit.

"We called and were like, 'we've got these products, we're not sure how you can use them.' And next thing you know the president is wearing the scarf… It was really such a shock on our end," Rukato was quoted as saying.

Rukato said that the scarves were a way for Zimbabweans to show their "national pride".

Dictator's voodoo scarf

"This is the flag which unites the people of Zimbabwe. I'm proud of my country," Mnangagwa previously said in response to a question on the purpose of the scarf during an interview with China Central Television.

The scarf has been compared to the one worn by former president Robert Mugabe in the 1980s, thus raising questions as to whether it could be connected to Zanu-PF, according to AfricanArguments.

The scarf has also caused a few controversies among some officials.

According to NewZimbabwe, former higher education minister Jonathan Moyo in May took to Twitter and accused British ambassador to Harare, Catriona Liang of "wearing a dictator's voodoo scarf". This was after Liang was spotted donning the scarf.

"Sorry to put a spanner into your absurd conspiracy theories but my scarf in Zimbabwe flag colours was a Christmas gift from the designer so I had it long before anyone else. I am not supporting anyone or anything other than a better future for #Zimbabwe," Laing reportedly responded to Moyo at the time.

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Zanu-PF Kuwadzana Member of Parliament Betty Kaseke also caused a stir back in May again when she entered the National Assembly wearing the scarf, according to DailyNews.

There were calls within the House to throw her out, as some members accused her of going against the dress code accepted in parliament.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba was also at one time accused of "wearing Zanu-PF regalia" after pictures of her wearing the scarf went viral on social media.

But Chigumba had this to say when she was interviewed by Capitalk FM: "That scarf was designed by a brilliant young Zimbabwean girl who then approached a group of us when I was a high court judge to say, 'Look I've designed this scarf in an effort to build national consciousness.' And I did want to support her, and I was very grateful for the present that she gave me and I took a picture."

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