They acted in 'the national interest', says Mnangagwa as he praises army for Mugabe removal

2017-12-21 06:50
Emmerson Mnangagwa. (File: AFP)

Emmerson Mnangagwa. (File: AFP)

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Harare - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has praised the armed forces for their role in removing Robert Mugabe from power, saying they acted in “the national interest”.

Mnangagwa made the comment during his first state of the nation address on Wednesday before both houses of parliament in the capital Harare.

He said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) had “exuded great astuteness… in defending the national interest by initiating by what has become now known as Operation Restore Legacy”.

'Free and transparent'

The army operation ended former first lady Grace Mugabe's grip on the party, and led to Mugabe's resignation last month. 

Mnangagwa said with "normalcy" now restored, his government would focus on promoting economic growth and ending corruption.

“My government is committed to open Zimbabwe up to investment by building a free and transparent economy that is welcoming to outsiders,” he said, in comments carried live on state TV and radio.

The comments came a day ahead of Mnangagwa’s visit to South Africa on Thursday, during which he will meet potential investors at a conference at the Zimbabwe embassy.

'Unsustainable deception'

The business-friendly tone is in contrast to the hard-line rhetoric of Mugabe, who constantly championed a controversial indigenisation law that was blamed for chasing off investors by forcing them to sell majority shares to locals.

But Mnangagwa said that the task of turning Zimbabwe into an attractive investor destination required support from across the political divide and he called on parties to “subordinate partisan interests in the interests of building strong economy”.

The MDC and pro-democracy activists have welcomed a lot of what Mnangagwa has said in public, including calls for free and fair elections, but are waiting to see whether he goes beyond mere words.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the main MDC party led by Morgan Tsvangirai said: “President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised free and fair elections but what has been missing is a proper roadmap to that election; the timelines and the implementation of key reforms.”

It added: “Economic reforms without political reforms are an unsustainable deception.”

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  grace mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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