…As IMF removes age limit for position of managing director***
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday declared the late founding leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, a national hero.
Mugabe, 95, died Friday morning in Singapore, where he had been receiving medical treatment since April.
In an address to the nation, Mnangagwa declared days of national mourning until Mugabe is buried.
“Our party, ZANU-PF, has met and accorded him national hero status, which he earned and richly deserves,’’ Mnangagwa said.
He also thanked the government of Singapore for medical care, it extended to the leader until his death.
In a glowing and moving tribute, Mnangagwa praised Mugabe for his great contribution and dedication to the development of the country before and after independence.
He described Mugabe as a great teacher, mentor and “remarkable statesman of our century’’.
“Zimbabwe is free, has been free since 1980, thanks to the sacrifices of a generation of dedicated, veteran nationalists and freedom fighters pre-dating the 1960s, who included the late Cde Mugabe,’’ Mnangagwa said.
He lauded Mugabe for his signature policy of reconciliation and forgiveness with former coloniser Britain soon after independence in 1980.
He also commended him for spearheading the land reform programme under, which Zimbabwe repossessed its land from minority white farmers.
“The late Republic icon will eternally be remembered and honoured for the bold and historic land reform programme, which he undertook.
“Through this programme, indigenous Zimbabweans regained their long denied land rights to complete their sovereignty.
“For that, he was especially vilified, shunned and punished by those who stood to lose from an end to colonial rights and from a just reassertion of African rights,’’ Mnangagwa said.
He vowed to continue with Mugabe’s long-life vision and legacy of black empowerment.
“As we mourn the passing on of our commander, liberator, founder and leader, we remain determined to carry forward the transformation he so fervently desired, including protecting and defending the gains of the struggle for which he made huge sacrifices.’’
“On the backdrop and solid foundation of the First Republic, which he moulded as its leader, we today recover and grow our economy brick by brick until his life-long vision of an empowered people is realised,’’ Mnangagwa said.
In the meantime, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the removal of the age limit for the position of IMF managing director, paving the way for Kristalina Georgieva to head the multilateral lender.
Since 1951, the IMF’s bylaws had prohibited the appointment of a candidate aged 65 or over as managing director.
It had also prohibited the managing director from serving past his/her 70th birthday, the IMF executive board said in a statement.
The board of governors has approved the proposal by the executive board to remove the age limit for the position of IMF managing director, it said.
The amendment, effective immediately, brings the managing director’s terms of appointment into line with those of members of the IMF executive board, which the managing director chairs, and those of the president of the World Bank, who are not subject to an age limit, the executive board said.
The 66-year-old Georgieva, a Bulgarian national, served on the European Commission and has been the Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank since January 2017.
So far, the only candidate, Georgieva was selected by the European Union to lead the IMF after narrowly defeating former Dutch Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
The position of IMF chief has always been held by Europeans while the head of the World Bank has traditionally been American, an informal arrangement that has stayed in place for over seven decades.
In July, Christine Lagarde announced her resignation from the IMF position with effect from Sept. 12, shortly after she was nominated for the presidency of the European Central Bank (ECB), triggering a selection process for the global lender’s next managing director.
Nominations to the position closed on Sept. 6 and the IMF executive board intend to complete the selection process by Oct. 4.