Mnangagwa pleads for more patience

 Mnangagwa pleads for more patience
Published: 13 August 2019 (96 Views)
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pleaded for more patience and grit among long-suffering Zimbabweans, as poor and working classes continue to reel from the government's austerity measures meant to turn around the country's sickly economy, the Daily News can report.

This comes as opposition leader Nelson Chamisa is cranking up the heat on Mnangagwa and his administration, including capitalising on the widespread despondency obtaining in the country through mass protests scheduled for Friday.

Addressing hundreds of people who gathered for this year's Heroes Day commemorations in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said his government remained committed to stopping the country's worsening economic rot.

"To desire quick fix manoeuvres and neglecting fundamentals will be grossly dishonest and a betrayal to the future prospects of our children.

"I thus wish to thank all our people for their resilience and to further urge them to bear with us as we complete this crucial phase of our policy reforms.

"The national economic prosperity and progress we seek requires dedicated effort, hard work and unflinching loyalty and patriotism one generation after another," Mnangagwa said.

"Allow me on that note to express my profound gratitude to all Zimbabweans for their patience and resilience, often against incredible odds, during this reform process," he added.

Mnangagwa's government has been criticised for being the authors of more economic problems for the country through the deeply unpopular Transitional Stabilisation Programme that was introduced last year by under-fire Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

Under the programme, Ncube has introduced a raft of new measures and higher statutory taxes which have led to widespread anger and an air of hopelessness among overwhelmed ordinary citizens and depressed businesses.

The austerity measures have also escalated the country's drift towards an economic cul-de-sac, as it battles record inflation and debilitating shortages of fuel, power, water and critical medicines, among a myriad other challenges.

In addition, and despite blowing billions of dollars on the controversial Command Agriculture programme, Mnangagwa and the government face another huge task of trying to avert starvation in the country - as nearly six million people are in need of urgent food aid.

As a result, Zimbabwe is currently embarking on its largest importation of maize in three years, after most of the funds allocated to Command Agriculture - to boost food security in the country - are said to have been looted by politically-connected service providers.

Mnangagwa said yesterday that the government was working hard to try and avoid having some people dying of hunger in drought-hit provinces.

"I wish to once again assure all citizens that no one will die of hunger. Grain distribution points have been established in all remote areas of the country so that vulnerable communities can access grain as near to them as possible," he said.

Turning to rising tensions in the country, Mnangagwa implored Zimbabweans across the political divide to shun violence and to promote peace.

"Violence, discord, disunity, hatred, divisions, discrimination, tribalism, regionalism and corruption must be rejected as having no place in the new Zimbabwe.

"I wish to applaud my brothers and sisters, fellow leaders of political parties, and the broad array of stakeholders who have embraced the call for dialogue and conversations towards rebuilding our great country," he said.

Mnangagwa's statement comes as it has emerged that Chamisa has approached Namibian President Hage Geingob and former Botswana leader Ian Khama in a bid to persuade them to broker much-needed talks between him and the Zanu-PF leader.

Mnangagwa and Chamisa have been at loggerheads since the country held its watershed elections last year, which were won by Zanu-PF - with the youthful MDC leader hotly disputing the results of the presidential ballot.

"We know for a fact that Chamisa approached former Botswana president Khama and Namibian President Geingob.

"The door for dialogue remains wide open because there is national consensus that there should be dialogue to resolve the economic challenges.

"But he (Chamisa) was told to move away from political confrontation and acknowledge ... Mnangagwa as the head of State.

"Former President Khama advised him to start preparing for the 2023 elections because 2018 is a closed chapter," Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba told the Daily News at the weekend.

"Coming to the issue of dialogue, he (Chamisa) can't come with pre-conditions. Even though there is goodwill, that goodwill will be squandered when people negotiate in bad faith.

"Zimbabwe is on the verge of assuming the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) organ on politics, defence and security, and there are spirited efforts to derail that. That does not build Zimbabwe.

"He (Chamisa) should stop the politics of confrontation," Charamba said further.

This comes as Chamisa has organised protests this coming Friday, which will coincide with the Sadc summit in Tanzania - where Mnangagwa will assume the chairmanship of the key Sadc organ on politics, defence and security.

Fears have been expressed that the protests could turn bloody given that previous demonstrations - on August 1 last year and in January this year - had claimed the lives of many innocent civilians after security forces intervened.

However, Chamisa told the Daily News at the weekend that he had approached regional leaders for their intervention in the deepening Zimbabwean crisis because he was interested in peace and dialogue.

"We are open to dialogue. Apart from several letters we wrote to him (Mnangagwa), we have also approached former heads of State and sitting heads of state in an effort to dialogue, but Mnangagwa is refusing.

"Zimbabwe is on fire and nothing is working at the moment. Everywhere there are problems and this points to a shortage of ideas.

"What Mnangagwa is doing is trying to colour a dead donkey and hope that it will resurrect. You cannot put lipstick on a frog and expect it to be beautiful," Chamisa said.

"The problem in Zimbabwe at the moment is politics. You cannot tinker with fundamental issues. They (Zanu-PF) have to resolve the political questions.

"No country in the world will succeed with divisions. That must be corrected. Otherwise trying to address the economy will remain a fruitless exercise," he added.

- dailynews

Tags: Mnangagwa,
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