Opposition urges ED to lead by example

HARARE - Opposition political parties have hailed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inaugural speech this week although they urged him to release all those detained so that they have their day in court.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube said the treatment being given to former president Robert Mugabe’s allies was unfair and violated their rights as citizens.

“What is currently happening where ministers are reported to have been tortured and abused is not encouraging at all as there seems to be selective application of the law where the authorities are seemingly targeting members of the G40 faction only when it is clear there are other well-known criminals who are being left free, this does not auger well for democracy and equality before the law,” Ncube said.

Ncube, however, added that in general terms, Mnangagwa’s speech was encouraging in that it was “conciliatory and provides a seemingly new direction on a number of policy issues such as, engagement with the international community, land and compensation as well as the economy.

“It is encouraging and welcome that he spoke about commitment to democratic elections.

We, however, have known that Zanu PF under Mugabe claimed to be democratic when its actions suggested otherwise and one hopes that Mnangagwa was not pronouncing democracy in the way Mugabe did, indicating left only to turn right. We hope that he will act on his word.”

Joice Mujuru through her spokesperson Gift Nyandoro urged Mnangagwa to consider the need for national healing and reconciliation ostensibly because “our country went through dark periods of history under the stewardship of Mugabe’s tyranny.”

“Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, long sleeve, short sleeve political brutalities of 2008, politically-motivated disappearances and in particular the case of Itai Dzamara and unexplained politically-motivated murders all need to be brought to closure,” Nyandoro said.

Mujuru also urged Mnangagwa to stop propagating hate speech through his famous slogan pasi nemhandu (down with the enemy).

“Differing on political opinions and preferences should never be viewed as enmity both locally and internationally. The country is in need of constructive dialogue”.

On the fight against corruption Mujuru said: “There is need for collective accountability because Mugabe did not run the nation alone.

“The national leadership should account for the missing $15 billion in mineral proceed.”

ZIPP president Blessing Kasiyamhuru said he was happy that the president highlighted that elections will be conducted next year.

“Any efforts to put Zimbabwe on a path to economic freedom, we support.

“As a party, we support any government of the day because we believe God appoints leaders.” Kasiyamhuru urged the president to lead by example and that all those politicians in detention must be awarded a fair chance to represent their cases.

Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was optimistic about the prospects of a better Zimbabwe.

PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume lauded Mnangagwa for trying to bring out “the right notes, sticking to the script and did not veer off.

“Though he mentioned Zanu PF more than 10 times it might be a case of old habits dying hard. The speech was refreshing in its lack of drama and high sounding sound bites.

“It created a headline in its lack of a headline if you catch our drift.

“In other words, it’s time our government did the simple things. It leaned on the economic side and less on the political side. The economy is key.

“The security of the State and the social fabric is on the brink of collapse if the economy does not reset and we might not be able to recover as a state,” Mafume said.

Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) president Jacob Ngarivhume said like any Zimbabwean, he was confident Mnangagwa’s assumption of duty as the country’s leader he warned that ED’s problem may come with the implementation of his plans.

“ . . . Mnangagwa spoke widely and strongly against corruption. It is well-known that corruption has become so entrenched in Zanu PF systems such that it is difficult to differentiate between policy and corruption in the Zanu PF-led government.

“ED is still surrounded by the same sad system which . . . Mugabe built, a system of patronage, a system which has no respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

However, Ngarivhume said TZ remained sceptical.

“We wait to see if we won’t be arrested again as we go about our business as opposition political parties.

“We wait to see if all electoral reforms will be implemented soonest as we demanded in the opposition . . . He can prove us wrong by speedily doing it. 

“We feel that Zimbabwe will only focus on the right path after a free and fair election next year . . .”