HARARE, Zimbabwe, Aug 13 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, urged Zimbabweans to shun violence and corruption, and focus their efforts in rebuilding the economy.
The president made the remarks in his address to the nation, at the National Heroes Acre, to mark this year’s 39th Heroes Day, held every year to remember fallen and living gallant sons and daughters of the country, who fought for Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980.
Mnangagwa made the plea, as the opposition gave notice, to stage demonstrations in the capital, Harare, on Aug 16, to protest against economic hardships.
Such opposition-organised demonstrations have, in the past, turned violent and resulted in the death of people and destruction of property.
The last one, held in Jan, against rising fuel prices, resulted in the destruction of property, looting of shops and the death of at least 12 people.
Mnangagwa said, “Mutual respect, love, equality, peace, commitment, loyalty and cooperation must be the order of the day. Violence must be shunned and rejected.”
He said, dialogue and constructive criticism must be promoted as the centrepiece of national development.
Mnangagwa reiterated that, the ongoing economic reforms being implemented by his government are “necessary to right-size the economy and reset it for sustainable economic development.”
Mnangagwa assured the nation that, no one will die of hunger this year, following the impact of cyclone Idai and drought that left a third of the country’s population in need of food aid.
He commended the international community for contributing to the country’s food relief efforts.
The United Nations last week raised its aid appeal for the country from the initial 234 million U.S. dollars in Feb, to 331.5 million dollars.
According to the UN, at least 5.1 million people in the country require food aid, and out of this, over three million, or 38 percent of the rural population, is projected to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Oct-Dec, 2019.
An estimated 2.2 million people in urban areas are also food insecure, due to economic challenges.
Mnangagwa expressed satisfaction with monetary reforms that have been implemented this year, resulting in the introduction of a foreign currency inter-bank market in Feb, and the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar in June.
Prior to the inter-bank, foreign currency was mainly being traded on the parallel market, where traders charged exorbitant rates.
In June, the government also banned the use of the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies for domestic transactions, and reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender, effectively ending the multi-currency regime that had been in existence since 2009.
Mnangagwa, however, expressed concern over the continued cash shortages in the economy, and vowed to address the challenge soon.
“We are aware that our people, especially those in rural areas, are facing difficulties in transacting, owing to cash shortages,” he said. “This transient challenge will be addressed decisively in the near future.”
He added that, efforts to turnaround the economy will remain underpinned by a spirited campaign to eradicate corruption.
“This campaign will be waged relentlessly and without fear or favour,” Mnangagwa said.– NNN-AGENCIES