Mnangagwa to address Zimbabweans in SA in bid to rebuild Zim economy

Zimbabwe's 'Herald' newspaper says the president will meet with Zimbabwean business people living in South Africa and others on Thursday.

FILE: New interim Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on after he was officially sworn-in during a ceremony in Harare on 24 November 2017. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to address a business conference in Pretoria as his government begins efforts to dig the country out of economic ruin.

Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper says the president will meet with Zimbabwean business people living in South Africa and others on Thursday.

Mnangagwa replaced long-time leader Robert Mugabe last month following so-called "military intervention" that forced Mugabe out of office.

The president laid out a grand vision recently to revitalise Zimbabwe’s ravaged economy and vowed to rule on behalf of all the country’s citizens.

“I intend, nay, am required, to serve our country as the president of all citizens, regardless of color, creed, religion, tribe or political affiliation,” he said, in a speech that also hailed the voice of the people as the “voice of god”.

Behind the rhetoric, some Zimbabweans wonder whether a man who loyally served Mugabe for decades can bring change to a ruling establishment accused of systematic human rights abuses and disastrous economic policies.

He made clear that the land reforms that sparked the violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms from 2000 would not be reversed, but promised that those who lost property would receive compensation.

To some political opponents, the speech was a welcome contrast with the habitual belligerence of Mugabe and appeared to be drawing on Mnangagwa’s knowledge and understanding of China as a model for running an economy.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)