Mugabe once told US lawmakers: “Once Trump is your president, you’ll wish you’d been friendlier to me.” What ‘s next?

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Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe wants to return to the United States’ diplomatic fold after years of tense relations, and his administration is confident that president-elect Donald Trump will welcome him back.

Mugabe, 92, has been in power for 36 years, presiding over Zimbabwe’s slow descent from one of Africa’s most productive post-independence economies—know at one point as the continent’s “breadbasket“—into an economic basket case besieged with angry protests. The US has imposed targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean government since 2001, following a political and economic crisis that saw violent crackdowns by Mugabe and his supporters on opposition politicians and activists.

Mugabe’s government is looking forward to Trump’s inauguration next January as an opportunity to restore relations between Harare and Washington, Chris Mushowe, the country’s information, media and broadcasting services minister, told The Herald, a state-run, pro-Mugabe newspaper.

As a government, we were quite happy listening to Mr. Trump’s acceptance speech,” Mushowe said, welcoming what he saw as Trump’s pledge to work with every nation willing to cooperate with his administration. “Zimbabwe has never had any quarrel with America and does not need to have any quarrel with America.”

 The Herald has been clear about the fact that it is not a fan of Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. It has accused the former secretary of state of being “a warmonger” at the “forefront” of supporting US sanctions against Zimbabwe. The newspaper also speculated that Clinton’s possible support of pro-democracy movements like the #ThisFlag campaign, an ongoing social media protest movement driven by young Zimbabweans, was aimed at unseating Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF.
Mugabe has been rooting for a Trump presidency for some time now, reportedly warning visiting US lawmakers earlier this year that “Once [Trump] is your president, you’ll wish you’d been friendlier to me.”