HARARE – The embattled Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa has further relaxed the coronavirus-induced national lockdown as he sought to re-activate what he termed ‘freedoms promised’ at the outset of the ‘new dispensation.’
In an address, which contained reminders of perhaps the difficult task, which his presidency met when he took over from Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa said the country must once again refocus, recalibrate and revamp. “Let us recall that Zimbabwe was in the midst of deep and broad reforms. We were reforming distortions, which have bedeviled our economy for decades, we were reforming the old, creating the new and building stronger foundations for a prosperous Zimbabwe.”
President Mnangagwa, who is currently facing sharp criticism over his failure to deal with the economic challenges and his failure to rein in corruption, said the progress had been registered on the economic and political landscape as well as media space by removing antiquated laws and opening up new channels for dialogue and debate. “Unfortunately as Zimbabwe was opening up both internally and externally, we were forced to closed”
The President said the country will open under certain conditions and that the creation of jobs will return to the top of the Government’s agenda. He promised to work twice as hard, “work with promise and promise to improve lives and give children a better future.”
For the lockdown, President Mnangagwa made the following adjustments:
4–The moratorium on rent payment, made during the early phases of the lockdown was lifted. Rent arrears can be settled in instalments spread over a period of six months.
“The freedoms we promised at the outset of the new dispensation must once again be felt across the whole of our society.
“Freedom of assembly.
“Freedoms of speech and religion.
“Freedom to vote in free and open elections.
“Freedom to flourish.”
But it is on ongoing reforms that he dedicated the majority of his speech on. The speech comes after a press conference by the minister of Home Affairs Raymond Kazembe denied that there was a coup being planned by the security forces, which perhaps betrayed the instability that currently exists within the system.
President Mnangagwa said that the liberalisation of the economy will continue in earnest and this includes the privatisation of bloated state industries. He added that reforms, “which are stuck in the wheels of bureaucracy,” must be unleashed, catalyzed and implemented.
He noted that the conditions, which Zimbabwe has faced in recent times, such as the droughts, cyclones and a global economic downturn, were hardly the conditions to implement deep structural reforms. “But if we do not reform now, we will continue to drown in debt or peddle along in mediocrity.”