By Stephen Chadenga
Mnangagwa’s position comes in contrast to his predecessor, former president Robert Mugabe, who continuously blamed sanctions for the economic problems bedevilling the country.
“Yes, sanctions are there but we should not continue talking about them,” Mnangagwa told delegates to the chief’s conference in Gweru.
“We must have solutions and already, we have solutions in agriculture and this should cascade to all sectors.”
Last year when he was still vice-president, Mnangagwa had started departing from the sanctions rhetoric by his former principal [Mugabe], saying that Zimbabweans should not continue to cry about sanctions as this would not grow the economy.
Over a decade ago, Western countries imposed what they call “targeted sanctions”, particularly on Mugabe, his wife Grace and other top Zanu PF officials for alleged human rights abuses and poor governance.
Mnangagwa said the country could only develop if people observed peace, unity and national reconciliation.
“The message is peace, unity and non-violence,” he said.
“When we go to the elections, people should be united. You should not fight. When people support their parties, it’s their choice. We should work for the people and not be selfish. There should be justice and national reconciliation because we cannot progress when communities are in conflict,” Mnangagwa said.
After concerns from the chiefs from the Midlands province on the resuscitation of Ziscosteel and Shabanie mine, Mnangagwa said he was hopeful that the two companies would be operational by the end of his first 100 days in office.
Meanwhile, 48 chiefs from eight provinces were given Isuzu twin cab vehicles from the first batch of the 52 cars.
Mnangagwa said since the remaining four vehicles could not be distributed equally among the eight provinces, he would use his prerogative to distribute three to women chiefs and the other one to Chief Mapanzure, under whose jurisdiction his rural home falls.
The president said the next batches would come within weeks from South Africa and promised all the 282 chiefs that they would each get a vehicle before elections.
He, however, admitted that financial resources to buy the vehicles were not there but that since chiefs had been promised the cars, it had to be fulfilled.
“We had to sit with the finance and Local Government ministers to ensure each chief gets his car before the elections,” Mnangagwa said.