NewsSouthern AfricaMnangagwa promises to govern for all in Zimbabwe

Sun,22Jul2018

Posted on Monday, 27 November 2017 10:49

Mnangagwa promises to govern for all in Zimbabwe

By Reuters

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks at the presidential inauguration ceremony in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 24, 2017. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/SIPAZimbabwe's new president Emmerson Mnangagwa laid out a grand vision on Friday (November 24) to revitalise the country's ravaged economy and vowed to rule on behalf of all the country's citizens.

 

Sworn in days after the overthrow of Robert Mugabe, the 75-year-old former security chief promised to guarantee the rights of foreign investors and to re-engage with the West, and said elections would go ahead next year as scheduled.

In a 30-minute speech to tens of thousands of supporters in Harare's national stadium, Mnangagwa extended an olive branch to opponents, apparently aiming to bridge the ethnic and political divides exploited by his predecessor during his 37 years in charge.

In part of his speech, Mnangagwa said "I stand here today to say that our country is ready, willing for a steady re-engagement with all the nations of the world. As we build a new democratic Zimbabwe, we ask those who have punished us in the past to reconsider the economic and political sanctions against us. Whatever misunderstandings may have subsisted in the past, let these make way for a new beginning."

"For the time that I shall be president of Zimbabwe, I solemnly promise that I shall, to the best of my ability, serve everyone who calls and considers Zimbabwe their home. I encourage all of us to remain peaceful, even as preparations for political contestations for next year's harmonized, free and fair elections gather momentum. The voice of the people is the voice of God."

Model for running an economy

Behind the rhetoric, some Zimbabweans wonder whether a man who loyally served Mugabe for decades can bring change to a ruling establishment accused of systematic human rights abuses and disastrous economic policies.

He made clear that the land reforms that sparked the violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms from 2000 would not be reversed, but promised that those who lost property would receive compensation.

To some political opponents, the speech was a welcome change from the habitual belligerence of Mugabe and appeared to be drawing on Mnangagwa's knowledge and understanding of China as a model for running an economy.

Since his return to Zimbabwe this month after fleeing a Mugabe-led purge, Mnangagwa has been preaching democracy, tolerance and respect for the rule of law.



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