BY BLESSED MHLANGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday pledged to depoliticise food aid and speed up political and economic reforms to help Zimbabwe rejoin before year end the family of nations as an equal partner.
Addressing diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe at State House yesterday, Mnangagwa said his government would accelerate the reform agenda, whose pace has been subject of concern from European and United States governments, which are accusing him of talking more and acting less on reforms.
“Key among these is the acceleration of our reform agenda so that there are visible benefits that accrue to the majority of the people. We urge you all to be patient as we implement these reforms,” he said.
Mnangagwa said although he would want the key reforms to move with speed, they were being slowed by bureaucracy in his government.
“It is our desire that both our economic and political reforms would progress in tandem. However, this is not always the situation. You will appreciate that the three arms of the State operate with their own calendars and at their own pace. More importantly, we must carry our people with us, as we reform,” he said.
Mnangagwa said his government would move to ensure that agreed electoral reforms are taken to Parliament in an effort to align the relevant Act with the Constitution and also incorporate recommendations by election observer missions.
“Meanwhile, an omnibus Constitutional Amendment Bill which includes, inter alia, a number of agreed amendments to the existing Electoral Law, designed to further enhance the democratic space in Zimbabwe, has been gazetted and will now be tabled in Parliament,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who appointed an intern ministerial taskforce to deal with the electoral reforms and recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry report, said his government would take action on the outstanding issues.
“Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the inter-ministerial task force chaired by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (Ziyambi Ziyambi), reflecting agreed positions on many recommendations contained in the various reports of international election observer missions, as well as the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry report. It should be noted that most of the Motlanthe Commission recommendations are already implemented,” he said.
The Motlanthe Commission recommended that the soldiers and police, who fired into unarmed demonstrators on August 1, 2018, be brought to justice.
The commission also called on government to compensate victims and families of those who were killed during the post-election demonstrations. But the key recommendations remain outstanding.
Accused by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and main opposition of abusing food aid for political gain, especially in rural areas, Mnangagwa pledged this would not happen as Zimbabwe battles a serious drought.
“Our immediate priority as government is to guarantee food security by ensuring that all the vulnerable households throughout the country have food. Our people are assured that there shall be no politicisation of food distribution,” he added.