President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appealed for peace in Zimbabwe following nationwide protests quelled with brutal force by state security agents that allegedly killed scores of people in the country’s capital city and other urban areas.
In a statement on his Facebook page Wednesday on his way to Belarus after attending a bilateral meeting with Russian president Vladmir Putin, Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans should unite and fight for the revival of the southern African nation’s devastated economy.
“Over the past two days, as I have been in Russia working on economic agreements that will give our economy a much needed boost, I have been deeply saddened by the events in our beloved homeland … I call for calm and peace from all of our brothers and sisters. We are one nation, with one mission, and we will realise it together.”
He said wanton violence and cynical destruction is not the Zimbabwean way. “As I have said numerous times, everyone in Zimbabwe has the right to express themselves freely – to speak out, to criticise and to protest.
“Unfortunately, what we have witnessed is violence and vandalism instead of peaceful, legal protests. There can be no justification for violence, against people and property. Violence will not reform our economy. Violence will not rebuild our nation.”
He said Zimbabwe his visit to Russia and other nations is designed to reboot the local economy.
“What will lead to a stronger economy is investment. That is why I travelled to Moscow, and that is why I will be travelling on to other countries in the region and then the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 48 hours in Moscow, there are signs that serious investment is on the way. Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond company, has decided to launch operations in Zimbabwe, and we have also signed a series of important agreements that will lead to investment, development and jobs.
“I understand the pain and frustration that many of you are feeling. Resolving Zimbabwe’s economic challenges is a monumental task, and while it may not always feel that way, we are moving in the right direction. We will get there.”
Mnangagwa announced steep fuel price increases Saturday that sparked nationwide protests, which were led by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, #ThisFlag Campaign and other non-governmental organizations.