Darlington Musarurwa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
President Mnangagwa on Thursday told Zimbabweans based here that victory in next month’s elections will give his administration the much-needed oomph and mandate to assert his vision for a new and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Speaking at a meeting held at Hyatt Hotel, the Head of State and Government said the new Government is presently seeing out the term of the former administration.
“Now this dispensation, which is there, in terms of our Constitution, we are only completing the term of our former President (Cde) Mugabe, because in terms of our Constitution, every five years, we have a general election; so, in terms of the Constitution, the current mandate expires on July 30 this year, and that is why we are having our elections next month,” said President Mnangagwa.
“And I am finishing the term of our former President (Cde) Mugabe) up to July. But of course, on the 30th of July, I am going to win the elections and start my own mandate.
“I can start my own mandate from August 1, then I (will) have more power to implement the vision I have for a new Zimbabwe, a prosperous Zimbabwe.
“We have everything we need in Zimbabwe in terms of manpower, educated population and we have identified the enablers to reach where we want to go,” he said.
He said his Government, whose inauguration concluded the First Republic, will pragmatically advance the good policies of the old administration but bury policies that were militating against the country’s progress.
“I was part of the (old) administration, but the good things we have brought forward and the bad things we have left behind. Things like investment and indigenisation, where if you land at Harare International Airport carrying $100 million, $51 million becomes ours and yours becomes $49 million. That does not attract capital to come in. So, we have removed that so that when people come to invest into the country, they make business arrangements, business agreements that bring about a win-win situation depending on how you negotiate your business agreement. It must be normal,” he said.
The intolerable practice of referring investors from pillar to post, he added, is coming to an end.
Government is currently working on a new institutional structure – the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (ZIDA) – which will be an amalgam of the country’s investment-facing institutions.
It is believed that it will be similarly modeled to the Rwanda Development Board.
President Mnangagwa said the new Government will continue to purse the good policies of the old administration and discontinue bad policies that spooked investors,” he said.
The first move taken by the new dispensation, said the President, was to open up the economy, a decision that has begun paying dividends.
“The first move was to open up. We felt that the task facing Zimbabwe is to reconstruct our country, restore our economy. Yes, of course, upon the assumption of office, I first of all went to my peers in SADC,” he said.
“We engage with such international organisations that had not engaged with Zimbabwe before. . . We now engage with any members of the international community so that we relate on the basis of mutual respect.
“We re-engage with those countries that had decided to disengage with us. We are receiving positive results from that approach.”
According to President Mnangagwa, the re-engagement thrust, particularly with China, where relations were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation and Partnership, had enabled the country to unlock funding for key projects.
Because of the country’s mounting debts and arrears, the world’s second-biggest economy had taken a decision to withhold funding for Zimbabwe’s project.
However, President Mnangagwa’s April State visit to Beijing managed to unlock critical resources to bankroll the $1,2 billion Hwange Power Station expansion project, including money for Robert Gabriel International Airport expansion ($200 million), Kunzvi Dam ($680 million) and a new Parliament, among others.
“I did have a State visit to China in April this year, where the President of China, Xi Jinping, upgraded relations between Zimbabwe and China to what is called Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation and Partnership. Now, when you have that type of relationship, then all the arrears we had with China were put aside.
“As a result of that, just yesterday (Wednesday), I was ground-breaking a $1,2 billion project from China. The funds were released on the basis on the upgraded level of cooperation,” he said.
After two decades of economic stagnation, Zimbabwe was not targeting to leapfrog and catch up with the rest of the developing world.”
President Mnangagwa said: “We have said for the last two decades, Zimbabwe had become isolated; for the past two decades, our economy collapsed; for the last two decades, our currency collapsed. During that period, the rest of SADC and the region we developing, yet we remain stagnant. For us to catch up, we don’t need to walk at the same pace as our colleagues, we need to leapfrog and catch up.”