Spotlight: High expectations as Mnangagwa takes helm of post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-23 22:45:48|Editor: Zhou Xin
Video PlayerClose

Zimbabwe's incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa (L, center) makes a public address at ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, on Nov. 22, 2017. Zimbabwe's incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa arrived at ZANU-PF headquarters on Wednesday as he made his first public appearance after he was back into the country. (Xinhua/Chen Yaqin)

HARARE, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's incoming President Emmerson Mnangagwa has a mammoth task ahead of him.

As he prepares to take the oath of office as the second executive president of the republic Friday, people have expressed great expectations.

While opposition parties are clamoring for electoral and other reforms to ensure a level political playing field, ordinary citizens are more interested in bread and butter issues.

Social media is awash with a "things to do and not to do" list as Zimbabweans hope that his leadership will usher in a new era of prosperity.

Some have even written open letters to him imploring him to serve the people well and to his wife Auxillia, advising her to desist from interfering with his work as had become the norm with former First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Mnangagwa on Wednesday appealed to Zimbabweans to be united as the country works to revive its economy. He also asked for international support.

"We want peace in our country, we want jobs for our people," he said.

However, he will have to turn words into action as the country grapples with high unemployment, rising prices of basic commodities, cash shortages and a general sense of helplessness.

Motor mechanic Martin Zengeni said Mnangagwa should quickly move away from the hate language that had characterized Zimbabwe's diplomacy for a long time.

"We should court international goodwill by coming up with policies that convince the outside world that we are moving along a more democratic path.

"We also need him to come up with a leaner and more efficient Cabinet that is prepared to serve the people first and that is not bent on looting state resources. We don't want patronage and this matter of appointing relatives to Cabinet should stop," he said.

Zengeni said Mnangagwa should also push for the reduction of the size of the presidential motorcade because it was too big.

"But most important of all he should cut down on the number of foreign trips. He should not be an embarrassment to the nation by going to some international conferences and end up being the only foreign head of state attending.

"This is a waste of state resources. The former president was always accompanied by a huge entourage of hangers on and we hope this will stop under his charge," he said.

Peter Chengeta, a bank clerk in capital Harare, said Mnangagwa had less than a year to prove his worth and should, therefore, come up with policies that were investor friendly, uplifted democracy and created an air of harmony in the community.

"He should move away from hate speech. Denigrating his enemies won't take us forward. Let us see a new dispensation in which leaders do not only preach love and unity, but also one in which national healing is allowed to address issues of the past," he said.

Office orderly Amos Muduva, 61, said the government should ease problems at health institutions where patients were not getting the required treatment because of a shortage of resources.

"You go to clinics and hospitals and you do not get all the required drugs that are prescribed by doctors. And when you go to private pharmacies you realize that you cannot afford the drugs. Our hospitals also need to be refurbished because they are in a sorry state," he said.

Muduva said investors should be given a conducive environment to operate in so that industries are reopened and jobs are created.

"We want to see our university graduates getting real jobs and not the phantom 2 million jobs the ruling party promised in the last election. We don't want to see the graduates loitering in the streets selling phone recharge cards," he added.

Mnangagwa on Wednesday said he had already begun to receive pledges of support from several countries in the world.

Zimbabwe, he said, was witnessing the founding of new democracy after Mugabe was removed from power.

KEY WORDS: Zimbabwe