HARARE, November 24 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday pledged to revive the country’s moribund economy and create jobs for its unemployed masses in a speech to mark his inauguration.
Mnangagwa, who takes over from long time ruler Robert Mugabe, stressed that the country was ready for a new beginning indicating that his administration would open up to the international community.
Under Mugabe, Zimbabwe has faced nearly two decades of isolation because of its failure to payback debts and a fallout over perceived human rights abuses and electoral rigging.
“I stand here today, to say that our country is ready for a sturdy re-engagement programme with all nations of the world. We ask those who have punished us in the past to reconsider their economic and political sanctions against us. Whatever misunderstandings may have subsisted in the past let us make way to a new beginning,” Mnangagwa told a packed National Sports Stadium witnessing a first transfer of power in 37 years .
Mnangagwa, however said the land redistribution exercise would not be reversed but would compensate farmers whose lannd had been taken ‘lawfully.’
“The fabulous natural resources we have as a country must now be exploited for national good, through mutually gainful partnerships with international investors whose presence in our midst must be valued and secured.”
Mnangagwa, who is seen as more business friendly than his predecessor, said government would work towards servicing its domestic and external obligations in order to reduce the high country risk perception.
“We will take measures to ensure that we acknowledge and begin to show commitment towards settling our debts”.
Mnangagwa promised to reform the civil service, stressing a new culture of service that ‘must inform the conduct of those in government.’
“To the civil servants, it cannot be business as usual. You now have to roll up your sleeves in readiness to deliver. We have an economy to recover, a people to serve,” he said.
“The culture in government just has to change, unseating those little gods idly sitting in public offices, for a busy empathetic civil service that Zimbabwe surely deserves.”
“He said all the right things and there is something for everybody,” noted economist Professor Anthony Hawkins.
“No reverse on the land reform but will pay compensation to farmers will sit well with many. He promised free and fair elections and to solve the liquidity crisis, even though he did not say how. I suppose people are going to say ‘he is a new man who deserves a clean slate has It will go down well with people, because they are going to say all this is new, he is not the same as the man he replaced.”