Mnangagwa pledges to revive economy, says democracy unfolding in Zim

 Harare – Zimbabwe’s incoming President  Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday pledged to give priority to reviving the  country’s collapsed economy, and said he would open arms to all  potential partners to achieve the goal.

 Formerly the country’s vice president, Mnangagwa, who is due to be  sworn in Friday as Zimbabwe’s second executive president since independence in 1980, told thousands of supporters in his first public appearance after  returning from exile on Wednesday afternoon, that he was ready to be  their “servant.”

 “I pledge myself to be your servant. I appeal to all genuine patriotic  Zimbabweans to come together and we work together, no one is more  important than the other,” he said to loud cheers.

 “We want to grow our economy, we want peace in our country, and we want  jobs.”

 Mnangagwa, who takes over after President Robert Mugabe resigned on  Tuesday, had fled the country two weeks ago following threats to his  life after he was dismissed from government.

 “Within two hours (after being fired) I was informed about plans to  eliminate me…” he told supporters.

 His dismissal from the ruling Zanu PF party and government by President  Mugabe, for alleged disloyalty among other issues, triggered a series of  events, including the army’s intervention in government affairs, and the  subsequent sacking of the president by his party.

 After deposing President Mugabe as both party and state president, Zanu  PF nominated Mnangagwa in his place, and is due to be sworn in on  Friday.

 Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was “witnessing the beginning of a new  unfolding democracy” with his appointment as Head of State.

 “We need also the cooperation of our neighbours in Sadc (Southern  African Development Community), we need the cooperation of the continent  of Africa, we need the cooperation of our friends outside the  continent,” Mnangagwa said.

 “I am already receiving messages of cooperation and support, we would  like to grow our economy.”

 Zimbabwe has struggled to grow its economy over the years in a manner  that improves the people’s socio-economic well being owing to a  combination of sanctions imposed on the country by the West and  government inefficiencies that have fuelled corruption among others.

 Unemployment remains very high, while formal industry continues to  shrink.

 Mnangagwa said while in exile, he had met with Presidents Jacob Zuma of  South Africa and spoken to Dr Hage Geingob of Namibia as well as Jakaya  Kikwete, the former President of Tanzania who pledged support after  discussions on the political situation in Zimbabwe.

 The wishes of the people had finally prevailed after former President  Mugabe stepped down, Mnangagwa said.

 “The voice of the people is the voice of God,” he said.

 The incoming President lauded Zimbabwe’s military and the people for  having gone through the unprecedented political process, which has for  the past week grabbed world attention, in a peaceful manner.

 He praised Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda for having  withstood pressure from President Mugabe’s supporters, who sought to  derail plans to impeach the former Head of State.

 Pres Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabweans have known in 37 years,  submitted his resignation while Parliament was in the middle of debating  his impeachment.

 New Ziana

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