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Mnangagwa takes helm as Zimbabwe awaits rejuvenation

By Tichaona Chifamba HARARE (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was on Monday enjoying his first day in office after being inaugurated as president amid humongous task to fix a broken economy.

The July 30 election also saw him gaining more political legitimacy as his first leg as president, finishing off former president Robert Mugabe’s term, had somehow been controversial coming as it did through a military intervention.

He took over from Mugabe in Nov. 2017 before winning an election, in which he garnered 50.67 percent of the vote.

He appears eager to put the elections behind him so as to focus on growing the economy which has been shrinking over the years, weighed down to a large extent by economic sanctions imposed by some Western powers over governance issues.

“My government will in the next five years accelerate industrialization, modernization and mechanization, with greater emphasis on market-driven policies. Furthermore, comprehensive strategies will be put in place to stimulate the value chains across our industries and commerce,” he said soon after being inaugurated.

African leaders including Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and African Union chairperson and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame attended the inauguration ceremony.

Mnangagwa is now expected to announce a new cabinet that will help him realize his vision to turn around the economy, fight bureaucracy and improve the ease of doing business, exterminate endemic corruption, create jobs and foster unity among Zimbabweans.

He also wants Zimbabwe to be an accepted member of the international community, pledging to uphold democracy and the rule of law.

“Through the engagement and re-engagement policy, we are opening a new chapter in our relations with the world, underpinned by mutual respect, shared principles and common values,” he said.

Zimbabweans continue to yearn for a better livelihood after enduring years of economic hardships exacerbated lately by cash shortages, joblessness, limited health facilities and access to water, inadequate housing, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Harare resident Farai Tsopotsa said although he had not voted for Mnangagwa, he expected him to listen to the needs of all the people regardless of their political affiliation.

“The contest is over. He won the election and is now my president. So I expect him to uphold the constitution and lead the nation without fear or favor,” he said.

Political commentator Tichaona Muchapera said: “After reading his pledge, which puts the economy first, l believe it’s a good departure from the old, when politics took centre stage at the expense of the economy. His commitment to his own pledge would be tested by the Cabinet he is going to appoint.”

Mnangagwa also assumes office when there is a subtle nudge by some players in the international community for inclusivity in governance issues.

Soon after the Constitutional Court dismissed opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s challenge to Mnangagwa’s victory on Aug. 24, the European Union delegation and heads of mission of EU member states in Harare issued a statement calling for an inclusive approach to crafting reforms.

“The electoral process revealed improvements as well as challenges ... It is important that the new government engages all stakeholders in substantive discussions on the necessary reforms, including on further electoral reforms,” they said.

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