PRESIDENT-DESIGNATE Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended a hand of reconciliation to his political foes, both within and outside the ruling party, despite numerous attempts on his life and his humiliating sacking
by former President Robert Mugabe two weeks ago.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mnangagwa – who is set to be sworn in today as President at an event expected to be attended by several Heads of State and Government from the region and thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans – expressed his conciliatory
tone in a statement yesterday.
“I urge all Zimbabweans to remain patient and peaceful and desist from any form of vengeful retribution. It is not in the spirit of Ubuntu/Unhu (humaneness) which characterises the nature of our people. Let us not,
therefore, allow criminal elements bent on destabilising the peace and tranquilty prevailing in our country, by either settling political or social scores outside the ambit of the law,” he said in a statement
released through the Office of the President and Cabinet.
To demonstrate his reconciliatory approach, Mnangagwa reportedly invited Mugabe and his wife, Grace, to be part of delegates at his inauguration ceremony at the National Sports Stadium.
Sources said Mugabe and Mnangagwa were expected to jointly inspect the guard of honour before the former Head of State hands over his powers to the incoming President.
It was not immediately clear if Mugabe had confirmed attendance at the “historic day”.
In an attempt to address the high expectations placed on his shoulders following Mugabe’s abrupt resignation on Tuesday, Mnangagwa also said he was busy putting in place structures that would bring prosperity in the
“I, therefore, appeal to fellow Zimbabweans to remain disciplined and optimistic while we put processes to drive our nation towards prosperity and development for us all,” he said.
Mnangagwa’s statement came at a time his rivals were on the edge fearing retribution from the former Vice-President, who had been turned into a punching bag at Zanu PF campaign rallies by Mugabe and his acerbic wife,
This also came at a time Mnangagwa’s allies, hounded out of Zanu PF by G40 elements on Mugabe’s orders, were gritting their teeth, waiting for their day to revenge for their disgrace.
The incoming President did not, however, give much on his plans going forward, only saying his team was working on transitional mechanisms.
“As you are aware, in the last few months leading to this day, the political situation in our country has been fluid, culminating in the resignation of our former Head of State, His Excellency President R G Mugabe. We are currently working on transitional arrangements which will lead to the dispensation which is to unfold tomorrow (today),” he said.
The government said it had invited all Sadc Heads of State and Government, among them Sadc chair South African President Jacob Zuma.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) also said they remained firmly in control of Mnangagwa’s security with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the police taking a back role due to suspected mistrust within
the State security departments.
“The military is organising his security and the entire event is in their hands. This is mainly because of security concerns and nobody is taking a chance until other security agencies are realigned to suit the new
dispensation,” a close source said.
Information minister Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the military remained in charge during the transitional period, saying things would get back to normal soon.
“Yes, the military is in control, but we are sharing notes and responsibilities among us. I know the Speaker of the House of Assembly [Jacob Mudenda] and the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and
Cabinet (Misheck Sibanda) are working on the same programme,” he said.
Senior Zanu PF members, who include Patrick Chinamasa, July Moyo, Obert Mpofu and Larry Mavima, were also reportedly working in consultation with the military in preparation for the inauguration slated for 10am.
Mnangagwa, who travelled in a motorcade from the time of his arrival, was mainly surrounded by members of the Presidential Guard unit and members of his trusted security team, who have been with him since his appointment as Vice-President.
ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga also urged the country to remain calm. “As we prepare for the inauguration of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces at a venue to be advised on Friday November 24, 2017, we look forward to another massive gathering. Once again, we strongly appeal to you to observe the laws of the land and shun violence to preserve peace and
stability in the country,” he said in a statement.