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Mnangagwa Regrets Killing of 6 Civilians After Zimbabwe's General Elections

FILE: Soldiers beat a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) outside the party's headquarters as they await election results in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 1, 2018
FILE: Soldiers beat a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) outside the party's headquarters as they await election results in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 1, 2018

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his government regrets the killing of six Zimbabweans this year by security forces, two days after the country held what he calls free, peaceful and transparent general elections.

In his maiden speech Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly after ousting former President Robert Mugabe in a bloodless military intervention last November and the subsequent holding of harmonized elections two months ago, Mnangagwa said the matter is being probed by a Commission of Inquiry.

“The isolated and unfortunate incident of the post election violence that occurred on 1st August, 2018 is regrettable and most unacceptable. The Commission of Inquiry, comprising eminent persons of national, regional and international repute, has now begun its work in earnest. Their ultimate report and recommendations will help us bring closure to the matter and assist in the improvement of our institutional governance.”

Various nations have condemned the killings and urged the government to take the matter seriously if Zimbabwe wants to be part of the global community.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s recent general elections are an indication that the country wants to create democratic space for all citizens.

“In view of the fact that elections are an integral element of democracy, my country held the much anticipated harmonized, general elections on the 30th of July, 2018. Following my deliberate and conscious decision to open up the democratic space and emphatic call for peace, unity and tolerance of divergent views among our people, political contestations, electoral campaigning, voting and counting processes were conducted freely, peacefully and transparently.”

Mnangagwa further reiterated his call for the removal of targeted restrictive measures imposed by the West on him and top Zanu PF officials a couple of years ago following claims of alleged human rights abuses and election rigging.

He said his government is making some strides in creating a conducive atmosphere for reviving the economy even if the sanctions were impeding some of the growth initiatives.

“We call for their (sanctions) immediate and unconditional removal,” he said, adding that the measures are no longer necessary in the new political dispensation in the country.

Mnangagwa also noted that Zimbabwe’s land reform program, which resulted in the displacement of white commercial farmers much to the chagrin of the West, is irreversible.

“The land reform program is irreversibly behind us.”

He told other world leaders that Zimbabwe is planning to become a middle class economy by 2030.

“Emboldened by the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our people, and in tandem with the United Nations Agenda 2030 and African Union Agenda 2063, we have outlined our vision to become a middle income economy with a per capita income of about $3,500. This will bring on board, increased investment, decent jobs, broadbased empowerment and a society free of poverty and corruption by 2030. Zimbabwe is open for business.”

Like his predecessor, Mnangagwa called for broad reforms of the United Nations.

“The United Nations and its organs require to be democratized. We join the call for Africa to be represented in the permanent category and to have increased representation in the non permanent category. This position is indeed justified in view of the need to correct historical injustice which has left Africa on the periphery of all major global decision making processes.

Above all, he invited the international community to invest in his nation with an estimated unemployment rate of over 90 percent exacerbated by lack of foreign direct investment and lack of capital to boost internal growth.

“Zimbabwe is open for business and we are presently undertaking a raft of economic and political reforms to ensure an environment that facilitates inclusive and sustained economic growth.”

He noted that Zimbabwe is currently implanting some of the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.

“… I am pleased to report that Zimbabwe has made substantial progress in the implementation of some of the sustainable development goals in particular, with regards to ensuring food security. Through our polices and planned programs, complimented by private and sector finance, and investments, farmers receive equipment, and technical support. In a bid to improve nutrition and broaden income opportunities, we have also extended support to grow the livestock, fisheries and wildlife sectors.”

Mnangagwa is expected to return home soon.