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Zimbabwe military announces end of opera-
tion that forced Mugabe to resign

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) on Monday announced the end of their military intervention that culminated in the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe last month.

Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army Phillip Valerio Sibanda told a press conference that police have now resumed their normal duties following the end of the operation, code-named “Operation Restore Legacy.”

“The Defense and Security Forces, come before you, once again, to pronounce the end of Operation Restore Legacy today, the 18th of December,” said Sibanda, who was flanked by other senior members of the security forces.

The military said it launched the operation on Nov. 13 with the aim of removing criminals that were surrounding the former president. The intervention eventually culminated in the resignation of Mugabe on Nov. 21.

Sibanda said some of the criminals had been accounted for while others had skipped the country.

He urged the nation to remain vigilant and report any suspicious objects and individuals, saying some members of the G40 faction that was aligned to former First Lady Grace Mugabe were bent on harming peace and tranquility in the country.

The ZDF also urged the police to discharge their duties in accordance with the constitutional mandate and members of the public to respect, support and cooperate with the police.


HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa deliver his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec. 20, 2017. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa reiterated Wednesday that his government will do all it can to ensure next year’s harmonized elections are credible, free and fair. xinhua photo: shaun jusa

“As Operation Restore Legacy comes to an end, it is our hope as your Defense and Security Services that our people will remain united, shun corruption, be law-abiding, and focus on working hard for the development of our country,” Sibanda said.

The ZDF also urged the nation to uphold peace and ensure next year’s elections are held in an environment of peace and tranquility.



Zimbabwean president says country to hold credible 2018 polls

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa reiterated Wednesday that his government will do all it can to ensure next year’s harmonized elections are credible, free and fair.

In his inaugural state of the nation address to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate since becoming President of Zimbabwe on Nov. 24, Mnangagwa voiced his government’s commitment to building a democratic, united Zimbabwe.

“My government is committed to entrenching a democratic society driven by respect for the country’s constitution, rule of law, mutual tolerance, peace and unity,” the president said.

He also reiterated that his government will have a zero tolerance to corruption in order to grow the struggling economy.

According to the president, corruption was the major source of some of the economic challenges bedeviling the nation.

“Economic growth requires a clean government, a clean private sector. The goal of my government is to build a new Zimbabwe based on values of transparency, accountability and hard work,” he said as he expressed optimism about next year’s growth prospects driven by anticipated strong growth in agriculture and mining.

He commended artisanal gold miners for high production but warned criminal syndicates against smuggling of the precious mineral.

The government would therefore tighten border controls to curb the practice while those caught would face the full wrath of the law, the president warned.

Gold is Zimbabwe’s largest mineral export earner.

The president also called for expeditious establishment of the national productivity institute to promote industry competitiveness and boost employment creation.

With his government working under a 100-day program target, Mnangagwa promised swift and vast changes in service delivery in the health, housing and other public sectors.

He said his government will unveil an ambitious parastatal reform program in the first quarter of 2018 while local authorities should transform into engines of economic growth.

The government recognized the need for an export-centered economic strategy to sustain high growth and would continue to support beneficiation and value addition of the country’s exports, he said.

He appealed to the business community to exercise restraint and avoid wanton price increases of basic goods and services that have been witnessed in the country in recent days.

The government, he said, will review and harmonize investment laws and policies to boost the drive for foreign direct investment in the country.

Mnangagwa succeeded former president Robert Mugabe who resigned on Nov. 21 after military and public pressure, ending his 37 year reign.


Over 4.7 million register to vote in Zimbabwe’s 2018 polls

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s electoral body said Wednesday over 4.7 million people have registered to vote in next year’s elections during a two-month registration blitz that ended Dec. 20.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said while mobile registration centers have closed, registration is continuing at 63 static district centers across the country, ZEC said.

ZEC had initially targeted to register 7 million voters for next year’s polls but it later admitted that the figure was unrealistic and revised it down to about 5 million.

There have been calls from various stakeholders including political parties for the registration blitz to be extended to accommodate many potential voters.

The state-run Herald newspaper quoted ZEC acting chairperson Emmanuel Magadu as saying that they expected to extend the blitz by a month to January 2018.

The electoral body has since requested 7.9 million U.S. dollars to fund the extended registration period.

Zimbabwe is using the biometric voter registration system for the first time to compile a new voters’ roll. Thus all eligible Zimbabweans are required to register afresh for next year’s polls.

In the last 2013 elections, 5.8 million Zimbabweans were registered for the polls.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who last month took over from former president Robert Mugabe, has been endorsed by the ruling ZANU-PF party as its presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.


Zimbabwean president pledges to build united, non-racial Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday opened the one-day extra ordinary congress of the governing ZANU-PF party and pledged to be a president of a united, non-racial Zimbabwe.

The party congress endorsed Mnangagwa as the party’s leader and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

In his first address to the congress since taking over as president and first secretary of the party, Mnangagwa said the party, which had been hijacked by the destructive G40 faction, should urgently repair and reposition itself as the party that represents the future of the nation.

“We must all return to source to repair the party and regain the trust of the people,” the president said.

“We should not be a party of the past. We must be a party for the future, a party for prosperity and posterity.”

Mnangagwa made an impassioned plea for unity in the politically polarized nation, pledging that he will be a president for all Zimbabweans regardless of race, tribe or ethnicity.

“My ascendency to the helm of the party does not mean the defeat of one faction and installation of another. My ascendency does not mean the rise in fortunes of any particular region, tribe or totem. 

“My presidency is about a united ZANU-PF, a lifelong party with a national outlook. I stand before you therefore as a president of a united and non-racial Zimbabwe. I am a president for all, men and women, the young and old, rich and poor and the well and the sick,” Mnangagwa said.

The president predicted a bright future for Zimbabwe following the military intervention last month which led to the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe and the ushering in of his new administration.

He saluted the Zimbabwe Defense Forces for the peaceful manner in which it executed the intervention which became known as “Operation Restore Legacy.”

“Operation Restore Legacy was about the nation, its past, present and future. It was about securing a future for our current and future generations,” he said.


Zimbabwean president to pay first overseas visit to S. Africa

CAPE TOWN Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be in South Africa this week in his first overseas visit since being inaugurated last month, the South African Presidency said Wednesday.

Mnangagwa will pay a courtesy call to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Thursday, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.

The two leaders will share perspectives on important issues, such as regional, continental and international developments, said Ngqulunga.

According to the Zimbabwe’s embassy in South Africa, Mnangagwa is expected to use his visit to attract investments from neighboring South Africa.

A high-level meeting with business people will take place during his visit, the embassy said.

South Africa and Zimbabwe enjoy cordial relations underpinned by strong historical and political bonds that date back to the era of the liberation struggle, Ngqulunga said.

The two countries have convened Bi-National Commission (BNC) meetings every year since 2015. The BNC is co-chaired by the two heads of state.

The last BNC was held on October 3 with the participation of then Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was forced out of power not long after he returned home.

South Africa and Zimbabwe have signed over 40 memoranda of understanding and agreements, covering wide aspects including security, energy, agriculture, mining, infrastructure development, trade, transport and arts and culture, according to the Presidency.

Trade between the two countries has seen exponential growth over the years with Zimbabwe being one of South Africa’s top five trading partners in the region and the continent, the Presidency said.

South African exports to Zimbabwe in 2016 were worth 29.3 billion rand (about 231 million U.S. dollars), said the Presidency.


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