"He was a lovely man whom we associated with," Didymus Mutasa, the secretary of administration for Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, told Zimbabwe's Voice of the People radio. "He was our great friend, and we are not ashamed of being associated with him."
Challenging popular wisdom about Kim's 17-year iron rule, Mutasa continued: "He was not a dictator. He was a popular leader who was chosen by his people and regularly conducted elections."
Mutasa said: "We got a lot of help from him as his country trained our army and they also built our Heroes Acre [a monument for national heroes] that we are very proud of. It was a very good relationship that we shall always cherish. We worked together well."