War compensation: Zim govt 'demands' $1bn from DRC, says report

Harare – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly made an appeal to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to assist his country in the forthcoming general elections.

Mnangagwa came into power in November following a military intervention that forced former president Robert Mugabe to step down.

He has pledged to hold free, fair and credible elections before the end of the year.

According to the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent, Mnangagwa who was in the capital Kinshasa last week discussed several issues with his counterpart Joseph Kabila, among them, "Zimbabwe’s long-standing demand for $1bn compensation for participating in the DRC war".

The report said that although diplomatic ties between the two countries remained cordial, "Harare and Kinshasa have a long-standing disagreement over compensating the Zimbabwean government for its active role in the 1990s war, dubbed 'Africa’s first world war'".

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Zimbabwe and Angola suffered heavy casualties during the DRC war as they fought to save Kinshasa from a military takeover backed by rebels that were backed by neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi, said the report.   

"Mnangagwa told his DRC counterpart that he needs money to run his election campaign. He asked for Kabila’s assistance in that regard… The leaders also discussed issues relating to the compensation of nearly $1 billion for the equipment lost during the 1990s war," a source was quoted as saying.

Reports indicated last week said that Mnangagwa visited the central African country to brief Kabila on the transition that led to the end of former president Robert Mugabe's rule last year. 

Mnangagwa's visit to the DRC formed part of several visits that the Zimbabwean leader has undertaken across the southern African region since coming to power.

He has visited a few other countries that include Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

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