ED cuts short trip to Europe

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has cancelled his planned trip to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (Wef) in Davos, Switzerland — which starts tomorrow — and will return back to the country this morning to deal with Zimbabwe’s growing political and economic crisis, the Daily News can report.

The under pressure Zanu PF leader was due to join other political leaders at the annual Wef jamboree, whose participants include leading international businesspeople and influential global opinion makers.

“In light of the economic situation, I will be returning home after a highly productive week of bilateral trade and investment meetings.

“We will be ably represented in Davos by minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube. The first priority is to get Zimbabwe calm, stable and working again,” Mnangagwa announced on his verified Twitter account early evening yesterday.

As exclusively reported by the Daily News at the weekend, this announcement came as Mnangagwa’s opponents were planning to confront and embarrass him in Davos — in a bid to scuttle his re-engagements efforts with Western powers, following the government’s brutal clampdown on dissenting voices during last week’s deadly riots.

Earlier in the day, speculation had swirled that Mnangagwa would no longer attend the Davos jamboree, as he felt compelled to return back home to deal with the country’s escalating political and economic crises.

“ED has chosen to return home, not because he fears the mooted demos against him in Davos, but because he feels that he needs to be back to resolve the challenges that the nation is currently facing,” a well-placed source had told the Daily News. 

This year’s Davos meeting, from tomorrow to Friday, is being held at a time Zimbabwe is reeling from a mega economic crisis which has been exacerbated by the steep increases in the prices of fuel which were announced by Mnangagwa last week.

Pressure had also been mounting on the president to return home ever since riots broke out in the country last week, after thousands of fed-up citizens heeded calls by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to stay away from work in response to the unpopular decision.

Political analysts said yesterday that what might have also made it more difficult for Mnangagwa to go to Davos were the last minute cancellations of trips to the Swiss resort town by some prominent world leaders — who had chosen to focus on burning problems in their countries.

Among these leaders are United States President Donald Trump — who cancelled his trip to the Wef due to the current shut-down of government business in his country — as well as France’s Emmanuel Macron who is dealing with growing unrest at home.

Among African leaders, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had also cancelled his trip to Switzerland to deal with the security situation in his country, following last week’s barbaric acts of terror in Nairobi which killed 21 people.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa and his government have come under renewed pressure from churches and others to halt the brutal crackdown on civilians by security forces — and to also enter into immediate talks with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, to stop the country from plunging into total chaos.

This comes as several opposition and civil society leaders have gone into hiding following the vicious clampdown on dissenting voices by security forces, following last week’s deadly violence which broke out in urban areas when Zimbabweans went onto the streets to protest the recent steep fuel price hikes and the country’s worsening economic rot.

It also comes as authorities have become increasingly confused about who to blame for last week’s anarchy — first fingering the opposition and non-governmental organisations, and later laying the blame on the mayhem on military deserters and retirees.

At least 12 people are said to have died at the hands of security forces over the past week, while a further 72 suffered serious gunshot injuries during the three-day ZCTU-organised strike.

The leader of the Devine Destiny Network church, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, said pointedly that the government was responsible for the country’s current crises, further imploring authorities to engage the opposition in talks to save the nation.

“The government of the day has created this crisis. They should not point fingers at the opposition because it is not the one that hiked prices … and it is not responsible for the violence that has erupted.

“We encourage the government to climb down their high horse and admit that we are in a dire situation that requires national dialogue. It is a situation that cannot be 
solved by one party but needs everyone to be involved,” Magaya told the Daily News yesterday.

“Securocrats should also desist from beating people and stop inflicting pain on a nation that is already suffering,” he added.

On its part, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) also said it was time for Mnangagwa to engage the opposition and other key stakeholders to end the country’s deepening crisis.

“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission … calls upon government to take the lead in convening a platform for national dialogue with partners in all sectors, including captains of industry, labour unions, independent commissions, civil society, the opposition and ordinary citizens in order to find lasting solutions to the prevailing economic challenges, to ensure respect and observance of human rights and promote peace and security in the country.

“We urge the government to be a listening and caring administration, not worried about perceptions of weakness or a climbdown because of accommodating various sectors and viewpoints in addressing the national crisis that Zimbabwe finds itself in.

“Lastly, as Zimbabweans, let us all remember that this is our country together, and we must all work to ensure a… society where everyone enjoys their rights and where citizens can thrive and prosper whilst building a better country for future generations,” the ZHRC said.

The Elders — the respected international group of former leaders who use their collective experiences to promote peace in the world — also said at the weekend that it was important that Mnangagwa embarks on inclusive dialogue to resolve Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis.

“The Elders reiterate … their belief that an inclusive national dialogue is the best way to defuse tensions and ease the political and social polarisation the country has seen since … Mugabe was removed from office in November 2017,” the group said.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a ginormous economic crisis which has seen prices of basic goods rising sharply and the government failing to end a biting fuel crisis that triggered last week’s riots when Mnangagwa hiked the prices of petrol and diesel.

Apart from the shortages of fuel and other basic goods, the government has also had to contend with a myriad of problems in the health and education sectors, as well as shortages of critical medicines.

Many government critics say the economic measures that were unveiled by authorities in October last year are at the centre of the country’s troubles.

Mnangagwa, who was feted like a king when he replaced Mugabe in November 2017, initially lifted the mood of crisis-weary Zimbabweans who were hopeful at the time that he would turn around the country’s economic fortunes.

However, the post-July 30 election shootings — which left at least six civilians dead when the military used live ammunition to quell an ugly demonstration in Harare’s central business district (CBD) on August 1 — and the latest round of deaths, as well as the vicious clampdown of dissenting voices — are seen as having dented his international image significantly, in addition to harming his chances of getting financial support from Western countries.

Comments (6)

It is ironic that this village EDiot uses Twitter to announce that is now coming back home, the same Twitter he ordered be shutdown so that the ordinary citizens could not announce the police and army brutality that he unleashed on his own people. He must face the problems he has created and go and console the families who lost loved ones as a result of his army cowering unarmed civilians with live ammunition.

Inyika - 21 January 2019

Yes ED must come back home to resign nothing else beside that will solve our problems ,As a country we can not pretend not to know that ED and his entire govt are a problem and must leave in peace .All citizens including die hard zanu supporters want ED to removed .

Diibulaanyika - 21 January 2019

It is 9.00pm on Monday evening in Zimbabwe. ED is on his way home: he is flying in a very expensive Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) a 787 Dreamliner that is fitted out for a King. It costs US$70,000 (yes seventy thousand dollars) an hour to hire. He has just gone past the town of Mwanza in Tanzania and will land in Harare in about 2 hours time, having taken off 10 hours ago from Astana Airport in Kazakstan. The registration of the aircraft is 2DEER and belongs to a Chinese company based in Hong Kong. Just remember: US$70,000 per hour. So from Astana to Harare will cost at least US$700,000 then there is the return flight of the aircraft back to it's base - another 10 hours @ $70,000. Eat your heart out.

Is that so? - 21 January 2019

The dictator mnangagwa landed at Harare at 11.05 pm. I wonder how soon WhatsApp, Facebook and twitter will be online. Chiwenga has hoodwinked Zim all this time and not told mnangagwa what he has done whilst he was the stand-in president.

Is that so? - 21 January 2019

Zimbabweans seem to think that Chiwenga is somehow better or worse than ED. Well, I have news for you. They are the same. Equally rotten , corrupt and heartless zanu pf thieves.

Ken Sharpe - 22 January 2019

great news website. i am also reading Hindi News Trend http://hindinewstrend.com/

HINDINEWS trend - 22 January 2019

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