Emmerson Mnangagwa, who ousted Robert Mugabe a few days ago being aided by Zimbabwe’s military, says he will fight for the rights of all Zimbabweans and work towards reviving the country’s almost comatose economy by engaging various nations unlike his predecessor.
Delivering a 30-minute speech following his inauguration as Zimbabwe’s second executive president at the National Sports Stadium, Mnangagwa said citizens should work together in rebuilding a nation ravaged by lack of foreign direct investment and capital, fears over the indigenization law and political uncertainty.
He said time has come for Zimbabweans to work together regardless of their social, political, religious and ethnic orientation.
“I intend … am required, to serve our country as the president of all citizens, regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe or political affiliation.”
Mnangagwa also extended an olive branch to white farmers who lost their land under the country’s land reform program, noting that they will be compensated for their farms that were seized by mostly Zanu PF supporters from 2000.
However, he said the land reform scheme won’t be reversed as that would be tantamount to betraying fighters of the 1970s liberation struggle.
The 75-year old new Zimbabwean leaders urged opponents to work with his government in order to rebuild the country with an estimated unemployment rate of almost 90%.
“Even if I make constant reference to my party, Zanu PF, I am not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political, ethnic and racial divide … have legitimate expectations from the office I now occupy.”
He further paid tribute to the former president Robert Mugabe saying “he led us in our struggle for national independence.
“Whatever errors of omission or commission that may have occurred during that critical phase in the life of our nation let us all accept and acknowledge his immense contributions in building our nation. To me personally, he remains a father, a mentor, comrade in arms and my leader.”
He called upon Zimbabweans to bury the hatchet and rebuild a nation ravaged by years of stagnant economic growth.
“… This country went through a lot and we cannot change the past. There is a lot we can do in the present and future. We need to stir our nation towards a different direction. As we do so, we should never remain hostages of the past. I thus appeal to all of us to let bygones be bygones readily embracing each other in defining a new beginning for our beloved country.”
“I implore you all to declare that never again, never again, should circumstances that have put Zimbabwe in an unfavourable position be allowed to recur.”
He also noted that Zimbabwe will hold general elections next year which the former president had intended to contest at the age of 94. Several opposition parties, including Zanu PF’s bitter rival, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, will contest the polls.