Mnangagwa shows he is his own man

Stanley Kwenda

BBC Focus on Africa, Harare

In a sign that Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to do things differently from his predecessor, he and his wife entered Harare’s National Sports Stadium on foot for his swearing-in ceremony.

This is in stark contrast to Robert Mugabe, who always drove in for events here.

It was a colourful ceremony, with 60,000 people packed into the stadium from all parts of the country.

And not everyone could get in – before the proceedings started, the army had to close the gates, so many watched and listened from outside. Mr Mnangagwa paid tribute to Mr Mugabe and his legacy, but promised to change the country’s “poisonous” political culture, saying its polarisation had led to the military intervention.

He spoke about the need to fight corruption, which is a big scourge here.

Much of the speech focused on how he hoped to revitalise the economy and create jobs.

In the opinion of economist Terence Shumba the president’s speech got a thumbs-up.

“He wants to take us back to where we were in the 1990s and I’m sure his all-inclusive economic policies are going to take us back there,” he said.

Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of the region until the controversial and violent land redistribution programme of the early 2000s.

Mr Mnangagwa said white farmers weren’t going to get their land back, but said they would be compensated and he wanted the sector to become profitable again.

Mr Shumba said as one of Zimbabwe’s born frees – those born after independence in 1980 who make up nearly 70% of the population – the address also inspired confidence.

“For young people like me… we all felt charged by his speech, we felt that this was the first time ever we have been included in the running of the economy.”

COMMENTS

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    Kutama 5 years ago

    Having been Mugabe’s man for 40 years – now suddenly he is his own man? This has been a miraculous recovery?