President Emmerson Mnangagwa today told diplomats to give his administration a chance but added that Zimbabwe needs unity to succeed.
“Only in unity can we make it through this period of austerity, because tough decisions hurt,” he said. “But just as tough medicine has short-term side effects; the long-term result is to cure the patient.”
“Stand with us. Stand with us as we toil to chart a new course for our nation, for the people of Zimbabwe. We are open and transparent; we have nothing to hide,” he said.
“I will remain a listening President. My arms are outstretched, and my door is open. We hear your criticisms and when it is fair the insights are noted and implemented. But we are in the process of restructuring, reforming and rebuilding an entire system, an entire nation. Rome was not built in a day.
“As we battle through these growing pains, I urge you all, to be our partners in building a better tomorrow for our people. With your help and support we will build a new Zimbabwe.”
Mnangagwa, who came on with a lot of promise in November 2017, has been under attack since his election victory last year and has been blamed for the heavy-handedness of the security forces in dealing with demonstrators.
Six people were killed during the 1 August demonstrations in which people were complaining about the delay in announcing the results of the presidential vote.
Reports say up to 17 people were killed last month during anti-government protests in which police say one officer was killed and 78 injured.
Mnangagwa told the diplomats that violence had no place in Zimbabwe.
“It is a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe and must be criticised by all parties,” he said.
“The implementation of the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission Report into the August 1st Post Election Violence, is progressing well. Sadly, however, we witnessed once again the ugly flare of premeditated violence on the country’s urban centres on 14th January in the disguise of mass protests and demonstrations.
“I reiterated today that in the new Zimbabwe, everyone has the right to protest; peacefully. Everyone has the right to voice their opinions, peacefully. And everyone has the right to criticise me and the government; peacefully. The riots were neither civil nor peaceful and were bent on effecting a regime change.
“Following the vandalism, violence, and associated looting, the security forces had to step in. And what followed is still being investigated. However, it must be clear to all that the army and the police are here to serve the people of Zimbabwe, to protect the people of Zimbabwe, to uphold and enforce the law of Zimbabwe.”
Mnangagwa reiterated that any rogue police officers or soldiers will be brought to book.
“Any evidence of rogue police officers or soldiers taking the law into their own hands will be dealt with and they will face the full force of the law,” he said.
“On 6th February, I thus invited the leaders of all political parties and former Presidential aspirants in the 2018 elections to an unconditional national dialogue. I once again called on those who refuse to take part in the national dialogue to stop grand standing and playing games with the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. Let us join together and work for a prosperous and united Zimbabwe.”