Zimbabwe: President Sets the Tone for Development
By Farirai Machivenyika,
PRESIDENT Mugabe's address during his inauguration at the National Sports Stadium on Thursday was inclusive and comprehensive and set the tone for development in the next five years, political analysts have said.The President took his oath of office before Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku at a colourful ceremony attended by over 60 000 people including incumbent heads of state and government, past presidents and emissaries from several countries around the world.
In his address soon after being sworn-in President Mugabe touched on various issues including his vision for the next five years centred on making the economy work for indigenous Zimbabweans.
Midlands State University media lecturer Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri, said the striking feature about the President's address was his acknowledgement of former GNU principals and the need to work together.
“What I found striking about the President's speech was his acknowledgement of the contribution made by the people he worked with in the GNU. No one would have thought that he would mention Morgan Tsvangirai, Professor Arthur Mutambara and Professor Welshman Ncube by name and say that what they did was not insignificant.
“That was a mature position he took and augurs well for the country as we move forward. I hope that these people will realise that what they did is valued and that they have a role to play as the country moves forward,” Dr Mhiripiri said.
He said it was also important that Zimbabweans set aside their differences as enunciated by the President and work together for the betterment of the nation.
Dr Mhiripiri said President Mugabe's speech brought renewed confidence and the same spirit should be sustained if Zimbabwe is to achieve the goals set by the President.
“The President set out a detailed programme of action especially on the economy but what we now need as we go forward is to instil confidence in our people so that we deal with the spirit of self-fear that is among some of us.
“People now need to be reassured that there is no need for mass withdrawals of money from banks or hoarding of commodities. People need to have confidence in their economy if we are to have sustainable growth,” he said.
Chairperson of the University of Zimbabwe Department of Political Science Dr Charity Manyeruke, described President Mugabe's speech as inclusive.
“I think his speech was quite comprehensive as it touched on the needs of every person in our society from farmers, business people, civil servants, youths, women and even his former partners in the inclusive Government.
“His tone was reconciliatory as a true African statesman that he is and shows that he wants the country to move forward because we are all Zimbabweans,” she said.
Dr Manyeruke said the emphasis by President Mugabe on reviving industry showed that the economy would also be on top of the agenda of the new Government.
“He also talked of reviving industry especially in Bulawayo and all the other sectors of the economy,” she said.
Dr Manyeruke said even Zambia's founding president Dr Kenneth Kaunda had acknowledged that President Mugabe had sacrificed his life for an African legacy as shown by his desire to move the country forward.
Political analyst and veteran of the war of liberation Cde Margaret Dongo, said the President's speech had set the tone for development adding the ball would now be in the court of the cabinet that is set to be appointed soon to implement the plans set out.
“What the President said conforms to the elections manifesto in that the issue of reviving the economy is at the top of the agenda. To me that is the most important thing because the economy has faced a number of challenges that need urgent attention.
“However, the President's plans also need a committed cabinet that will also show the same levels of commitment he has shown as a leader. The cabinet should comprise of people who are committed, who are corruption free because the plans set out are brilliant but will also require a team also equal to the task,” she said.
Cde Dongo said the public was expectant of an improvement in their livelihoods making it critical for President Mugabe to appoint a competent cabinet.
Cde Dongo also welcomed President Mugabe's call for mutual partnerships with the international community but said the West should remove its illegal sanctions regime.
“It is important that we have engagements with the international community in a win-win situation but that can only be achieved if the illegal sanctions have been removed. If the West are concerned about the well-being of Zimbabweans, the development of its people and democracy they should scrap those sanctions.
“The sanctions were at the root of the problems that affected the functioning of the GNU so there is no reason why they should remain. Keeping the sanctions is like telling someone to run a race with one leg tied,” she said.
Cde Dongo also commended Zimbabweans for the manner they conducted themselves during the harmonised elections saying they had proved that they could determine their own destiny without interference from outside.
Political analyst Goodwine Mureriwa said the President's speech had shown he was a servant of the people.
“I think the President had something for everyone in his speech including his political foes in the MDC formations.
“The President addressed the pertinent issues that are affecting the country today from the need to revive the economy, the need to increase local ownership of the economy, the importance of partnerships with the international community on an equal basis and also the need to put people first irrespective of their station in life.
“He showed that everyone is important because we are all Zimbabweans and what is important is for us to move together with unity of purpose if Zimbabwe is to develop,” Mr Mureriwa said.