No business as usual, we have an economy to recover – Mnangagwa

Harare – In his first speech as president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa reiterated his and Zanu-PF's new commitment to growing the economy and creating jobs.

Mnangagwa, who was inaugurated as president on Friday at the National Sports Stadium in Harare after Mugabe's 37-year rule, said he had great respect for Mugabe as a "father, mentor, comrade-in-arms, and my leader".

"Let me at this stage pay special tribute to one of, and the only, surviving founding father of our nation, cadre Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He led us in our struggle for national independence, and assumed responsibilities of leadership at a formative and very challenging time in the birth of our nation," Mnangagwa said.

"Whatever errors of commission or omission that might have occurred during that critical phase in the life of our nation, let us all accept and acknowledge his immense contribution towards the building of our nation," he said.

Mnangagwa in his first speech addressed some of the concerns ordinary Zimbabweans had been complaining about since the military takeover which led to the resignation of Mugabe this week. This included addressing issues of joblessness, access to cash and Zimbabwe's standing in the international community.

"As we focus on recovering our economy, we must shed misbehaviours and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past. Acts of corruption must stop forthwith," he said.

He said Zimbabwe's economy would be rebuilt on the back of the country's abundant mineral resources.

Photo:Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)

Mnangagwa also sent a stern warning to public officials who don't display commitment to their jobs.

"To our civil servants, it cannot be business as usual. You have to roll up your sleeves in readiness to deliver. We have an economy to recover, a people to serve," he said.

"A new culture must now inform and animate our daily conduct," Mnangagwa said.

To the applause of the crowd, Mnangagwa reaffirmed his stance on land redistribution.

Photo:Felix Dlangamandla (Netwerk24)

"Dispossession of our ancestral land was the fundamental reason for waging the liberation struggle. It would be a betrayal of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in our liberation struggle if we were to reverse the gains we have made in reclaiming our land," he said.

"My government is committed to compensating those farmers from whom land was taken in terms of the laws of the land," he said.

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