Mnangagwa: ‘This is my last term, and it will be about more building’

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his “record of performance” will be enough to deliver a fresh term in office, which he says will be his last.

Mnangagwa is hoping that his infrastructure projects will trump widespread public discontent over inflation, which has surged over the past year and hurt his re-election chances in Wednesday’s election.

“I am going for my second term. It is my last term. I believe that the building of our land depends on us, the modernisation of our country depends on us. People from outside can only come to support our programmes,” Mnangagwa told ZTN in a pre-election interview on Monday.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution limits a President to only two five-year terms. Last December, Tsitsi Zhou, the head of ZANU PF’s women’s league in the Midlands, said the party must push for the removal of term limits “because the President is a hard worker”.

On his chances in Wednesday’s election, Mnangagwa said his “development” would help him win.

“Just look at what we have done in the past five years, people must vote for development, a party that has the ideas,” Mnangagwa said.

He plans to step up public works under a fresh mandate, despite concerns from even within his government over how the projects helped stoke inflation.

“This is just the beginning. We will continue to build more. We will continue to build dams to make sure we have enough that even in drought years we will be food secure. We want to produce everything that we require.”

He says one of his biggest achievements was the construction of two new power units at Hwange, which have helped ease the power crisis. He said the project, which had been stalled for years, only happened after he travelled to meet Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in April 2018 to secure the release of funding to get it done.

In his last statement to Cabinet on Monday, Mnangagwa said he plans to speed up parastatal reform.

He said: “Increased performance and full implementation of reforms related to the State Enterprises and Parastatals sector are aspects that will receive urgent attention in the very near future. State Enterprises and Parastatals must contribute their proportionate share to the fiscus and ultimately, help address issues of service delivery to our people.”

In 2018, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced an ambitious plan to reform or sell over 30 state enterprises. The bulk of the proposed sales never took off, with companies unable to pay consultants and the process caught in red tape.

Under the 2021 budget, Government then proposed reforms that would have seen Ministers lose control of state enterprises. The plan would have seen a single government entity owning all State enterprises that would not be sold off. But Ncube at the time said reform was being resisted by “vested interests” and “ministerial interference”.

The collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar since its reintroduction in 2019 and the inflation it brought are the biggest issue among voters, according to a recent poll of voters by Afrobarometer. Still, despite his economic record, Mnangagwa told his Ministers: “Our focus is now on Wednesday’s elections which our revolutionary Party, ZANU PF is poised to resoundingly win, given our record of performance in the past five years.”

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