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.