ED’s inauguration sends clear message: expect more of the same

President Mnangagwa dances at his inauguration ceremony (pic: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)

It was an inauguration event that reminded everyone not to expect a major shift in direction.

As he was sworn into a second term Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to continue his economic policies, and spared no time being conciliatory to his defeated opponents, as he has previously done. Instead, he called out the opposition’s ‘failures’ to run councils and celebrated his win as a defeat for foreign powers.

“There are no losers, but a victory for the people of Zimbabwe against neocolonial and hegemonic tendencies of our country’s detractors and those who believe that might is right,” Mnangagwa said.

“No country or group of persons should disregard the sovereign decisions and views of the people of our motherland,” Mnangagwa said. “The will of the people has been expressed and must be respected.”

Mnangagwa said he is sticking with the Zimbabwe dollar, whose collapse and the inflation it caused was a key election issue in the election. He will also remain focused on infrastructure projects and accelerate work to ease rural poverty.

“The past five years have delivered valuable lessons on our intricate economy, especially the fact that a national currency that is supported by a vibrant productive sector is indispensable to sustainable development. No country has ever developed without its own currency. Further, we can only develop and grow the economy based on our own internal resources,” he said.

Government will work on service delivery, Mnangagwa said, taking a jibe at the opposition.

“Our citizens, especially in urban areas, have endured poor service delivery for far too long, by the opposition,” he said.

The last five years have seen tensions between government and business, and this is unlikely to end in the fresh term as long as inflation remains, judging by Mnangagwa’s speech.

He said: “I exhort industry and commerce stakeholders to be patriotic and always seek an intricate balance between profit and the plight of our people. Profiteering, opportunistic tendencies and greed will not move our country forward.”

But he said his “new government shall continue to foster a predictable business environment, where capital is safe. Those who want to invest in our country are welcome, based on mutual respect and benefits”.

Mnangagwa said he wants to focus on uplifting rural areas.

“The transformation of the living standards of our people, especially those in rural communities, will be accelerated, while concerns of those in urban areas will not be neglected,” Mnangagwa said.

The infrastructure projects that were central to his last term will be expanded, he said.

“The modernisation of our national infrastructure shall continue unabated. The internal capacities and local skills in road construction that have been developed over the last five years will be deployed to further modernise our road network.”

On energy, Mnangagwa said investment at Hwange, which has added 600MW, had eased the country’s energy supply problems. Going forward, he said, his government would expand renewables.

“Additional work is continuing towards broadening our energy mix, inclusive of renewable energy, to increase the total energy output,” he said.