Felex Share, Harare Bureau
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described his first 10 days in office as “hectic”, and expressed the hope that the team of ministers he swore-in yesterday would be equal to the task of turning around the economy and bettering the lives of Zimbabweans.
The President took the oath of office on November 24, 2017, at a ceremony attended by thousands of Zimbabweans and several foreign dignitaries at the National Sports Stadium.
President Mnangagwa took over from Cde Robert Mugabe who had resigned three days earlier after 37 years in charge.
In a brief interview after swearing-in 21 Cabinet Ministers, two deputy ministers and 10 Provincial Affairs Ministers at State House yesterday, President Mnangagwa said he had not rested since taking over the reins.
“I have sworn in a new Cabinet just to finish the term of the former President, which is a period of between six to seven months,” he said.
Commenting on his days in office, he said: “It has been hectic but I believe that with my team we will stand up to the challenge.”
He said unity was key to development.
“I want them (Zimbabweans) united. We must grow our economy.”
In his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa promised sweeping reforms, which he said would stimulate economic growth and create employment.
The new administration has promised “sturdy re-engagement” with the international community, saying “isolation has never been splendid or viable”.
Locally, he pledged to tackle the cash liquidity challenges head-on, act on corruption, relax export procedures, ensure maximum utilisation of land and protect foreign investments, among other policies.
“Key choices will have to be made to attract foreign direct investment to tackle high levels of unemployment, while transforming our economy towards the tertiary,” he said.
“The many skilled Zimbabweans who have left the country for various reasons must now come into the broad economic calculus designed for our recovery and take-off.
“The fabulous natural resources that we have as a country must now be exploited for national good, through mutually gainful partnerships with international investors whose presence in our midst must be valued and secured. The bottom line is an economy which is back on its feet and in which a variety of players make choices without doubts and in an environment shorn of fickle policy shifts and unpredictability. Only that way can we recover this economy, create jobs for our youths and reduce poverty for all our people who must witness real, positive changes in their lives.”
Zimbabwe’s economy has been plagued by a myriad of challenges that have been compounded by sanctions imposed by America and the European Union.
President Mnangagwa has appealed to these nations to remove them as part of the re-engagement process.
Trade deficits, unemployment, liquidity challenges, industrial inefficiencies and inflation among other economic challenges have become synonymous with the local economy.