Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa yesterday said the pace of broad reforms has been remarkable, and vowed to uphold his pledge of establishing a strong democratic dispensation under the Second Republic by eliminating retrogressive laws so as to enable citizens enjoy their rights.
He said this while addressing the nation to mark his first elective year in office yesterday. “As I address you, bad laws are being repealed and are set to be replaced by good ones which comply with our celebrated Constitution, and international tenets of good governance,” he said.
The President said laws facing replacement include the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), with legislative processes now at advanced stage. “No piece of legislation which is deemed offensive, restrictive or undemocratic will be spared,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also pledged to keep his door open for dialogue to all Zimbabweans including his opponents in the July 2018 elections.
He further said elections should never again be allowed to degenerate into open conflict that mars the country’s peace.
After a remarkably peaceful campaigning and voting period, the MDC-Alliance plunged the country into violence after staging a violent demonstration, demanding the release of election results barely two days after voting.
The opposition, working in cahoots with its civic society partners, again plunged the country into chaos in January this year after staging yet another violent protest.
President Mnangagwa said the national dialogue, through which the majority of the national political leaders have sought to find one another, and to work together on national issues, is underway.
“I continue to urge the few parties which have shunned the national dialogue to please reconsider their position by joining in the consolidation of national peace and in working in harmony for economic recovery and growth,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also spoke on the steps taken to tackle and heal wounds created by conflicts of early years of the country’s independence in Matabeleland and part of Midlands provinces.
He said the process being led by Vice President Kembo Mohadi was progressing well in the search for lasting solutions to the disturbances that occurred in the early ‘80s.
“Communities affected by this troubled phase in our evolution as a nation must continue to be engaged and to be consulted on how best they can be helped to get over this sad chapter. They have a right to be heard and helped so that we bring closure to this matter for durable peace, and to build an abiding sense of national belonging,” said the President.
On electricity supply, President Mnangagwa assured the nation that Government would continue to plug the power deficit through more imports.
He said the electricity supply is expected to improve in the coming week.
President Mnangagwa also said social sectors that are key to providing safety nets during these times of austerity were among the top priorities under his administration.
He said Government has looked at improving public transport through affordable mass-transits both for urban and rural areas.
On the health front, the President said programmes towards revamping the health sector in terms of improving drug supplies and re-equipping referral hospitals were in full swing, in light of agreements with General Electric of America and governments of India and United Arab Emirates.
President Mnangagwa said has also taken sufficient measures to ensure the prevailing drought was averted.
He said about 750 000 tonnes of grain would be imported to meet the national deficit.
An international humanitarian appeal has since been launched.
President Mnangagwa pledged that no citizen would lose life due to drought.
However, the President said as a new agricultural season beckons, efforts to mobilise inputs are already underway so as to ease the country’s import burden.
President Mnangagwa also noted that development was only feasible in an environment of peace and harmony, hence the need to jealously guard and defend the nation’s peace.
His call comes at a time when the MDC-Alliance is calling for demonstration next week. The demonstrations have always turned violent so that the international community continues to pile sanctions on the country.
President Mnangagwa also declared “zero tolerance” to corruption, adding that the reconstituted Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) would be critical in the fight against corruption of “whatever kind, at whatever level and by whomsoever”.
ZACC has already stung former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Priscah Mupfumira, who is facing about nine criminal abuse of office charges.