New Zanu PF leader and President-designate Emmerson Mnangagwa made a triumphant return home yesterday as pressure piled to form a coalition government comprising of key stakeholders to stabilise the economy, NewsDay has heard.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/XOLISANI NCUBE/BLESSED MHLANGA
The transitional government would also ensure political stability and implement electoral, political and economic reforms to stabilise the country following former President Robert Mugabe’s abrupt departure on Tuesday.
Political parties, churches, civic society groups and analysts yesterday warned that Mnangagwa risked alienating himself from the majority and suffer legitimacy challenges if he ignored public sentiment and forms an exclusive Zanu PF government.
In his first public address yesterday, Mnangagwa pledged to follow democratic principles.
“Today we are witnessing the beginning of a new unfolding democracy,” Mnangagwa said while addressing thousands of supporters at the Zanu PF headquarters last night.
Mnangagwa said people had pushed out a dictator and the G40 cabal which he accused of having captured executive power and Mugabe.
“The G40 cabal had captured the executive in the person of our President. Orders were now coming from people outside the Executive to be implemented,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who promised economic revival and creation of new jobs, said he had already received commitment for support for Zimbabwe from all over the world.
“I pledge myself to be your servant. I appeal to all genuine patriotic Zimbabweans to come together, we work together, no one is more important than the other. We want to grow our economy. We want peace in our country, we want jobs,” he said.
Mnangagwa, accompanied by his wife Auxillia, also hinted that he was part of the well-planned power takeover by the military, saying he was in constant touch with the army generals as they executed the process to kick out Mugabe.
A survivor of a poisoning attempt at a Zanu PF youth interface rally in Gwanda in August, Mnangagwa said he left the country soon after he was fired after receiving information that he was going to be eliminated.
Supporters endured a long wait from 10am until Mnangagwa addressed them at the party headquarters at 7pm.
The main opposition MDC-T said it would continue calling for the complete dismantling of Mugabe’s pillars of dictatorship.
“We will continue to demand for electoral reforms so that free and fair elections can be held. The MDC-T believes in the creation of strong institutions rather than strong personalities,” party spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“We are carefully monitoring the situation going forward, but for now, we remain cautiously optimistic that the incoming Head of State will not fall into Mugabe’s straitjacket of intolerance, hatred, corruption, incompetence, maladministration and lack of inclusivity.”
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe leader Shingi Munyeza said Mnangagwa should embrace all stakeholders in forming his next government.
“The buzzword for us is inclusivity. So we want to see an inclusivity of various stakeholders because where we are, the ruling party cannot build on its own and neither does the opposition have what it takes to be able to champion, otherwise we would like to see a signal from the incoming President that shows he is prepared to be the President of every Zimbabwean.
This means he must listen to every voice that is coming through,” Munyeza said.
Mnangagwa, in a statement on Tuesday, indicated his readiness to involve key stakeholders to rebuild the country, saying “this is not a job for Zanu PF alone, but for all people of Zimbabwe.”
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said the country had no option, but to enter into a second government of national unity (GNU).
“We are hopeful the next step will be the formation of an inclusive transitional government that will swiftly move to ameliorate the current conditions of the people and pave way for a credible free and fair election,” he said.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said an inclusive arrangement would help resolve the country’s problems.
“We need to have an inclusive transitional arrangement that helps restore political development towards democracy. We also need to have a transitional economy in place and this is non-optional if we are to see progress in the country,” Mafume said.
Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume said it was now time to return to the rule of law and constitutionalism as well as level the playfield for next year’s harmonised elections.
“We will continue to fight to ensure we return to the rule of law and constitutionalism. We must work to make sure that the framework for free and fair elections, where we hope the nation will finally be delivered from Zanu PF’s bondage, is in place,” he said.
The Elton Mangoma-led Coalition for Democrats also said all unconstitutional elements that trampled upon people’s rights must be repealed to allow the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to operate freely without any bias towards Zanu PF.
National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Madock Chivasa encouraged people to register to vote.
Zimbabwe Transitional Alliance president Philemon Machana urged Mnangagwa to be pragmatic and put the country’s interests first.
“We now require an inclusive transitional government to prepare for free and fair elections. We now begin the journey of rebuilding our great nation and young democracy into a formidable economic giant after years of plunder. One hopes Zanu PF realises that this (anti-Mugabe nationwide demonstrations last Saturday) was a people’s project and people’s victory. It is our fervent hope that the spirit will continue in the transition even with the ruling party on the levers of power,” he said.
#ThisFlag frontman Evan Mawarire, charged with subversion after leading protests against Mugabe, also suggested an inclusive arrangement that would pull the country out of the quagmire.
“Robert Mugabe’s resignation is testament to the power of the will of our people. We are glad that Mugabe lived to see the people he oppressed celebrate his departure as well as stand up to him when the façade of his invincibility was removed by the military. The true challenge now is to take the positive lessons of this victory and apply them to building our future.
If we are inclusive and united nothing will be impossible for us,” he said.
But political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said it was now time to focus on electoral reforms.
“Now that we are done with the conundrum of Mugabe’s arrogant intransigence, we have crossed the first bridge. Our mandate now is to agitate for 100% electoral reform. An NTA (National Transitional Authority) is only to pacify the political egos of those who don’t understand the power dynamics that drive Zanu PF. I view any all-inclusive transition institution with contempt,” he said.
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) secretary-general Kenias Shamuyarira said workers want a change in the governance of the country.
“We want to see a complete change of the whole government line ministries’ administration in general in terms of the way they execute their obligations and tenacity to duty. ZFTU prays for the resuscitation of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum which is a major component in the revival of our industries and the economy at large,” he said.
Zanu PF supporters interviewed said the state of the economy needed a collective approach from broader political parties.
Malvern Kwaramba, a Zanu PF supporter and University of Zimbabwe student, said without a collective approach by other stakeholders, Mnangagwa’s reign was doomed.
“While it is a Zanu PF cake, I believe that he must involve all stakeholders because this fight has involved every Zimbabwean. I am talking about war veterans, students and workers. Otherwise, it would be impossible for him to turn around the economy,” he said.
Another Zanu PF activist, Reason Maisiri, said Mnangagwa should address the current liquidity crisis, which has seen many Zimbabweans sleeping in bank queues and the price of basic commodities escalating beyond the reach of many.
“I know that he has capacity, but we are giving him 100 days to do what is needed. The mood and spirit in Zimbabwe is that he must work with everyone. The fight was done by everyone. The agricultural sector needs to be supported just as the mining sector. He has a lot of work to do or else it would be tough for him. He needs to put correct people in correct positions,” he said.