President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the violence that followed the announcement of a series of economic measures to stabilise the nation’s fuel supply last week is both regrettable and tragic, adding that such acts will not rebuild the nation or reform the economy.
In a statement released this morning, President Mnangagwa said the upward review of fuel prices “was the right thing to do”.
“I was aware that these measures may not be popular, and this was not a decision we took lightly. But it was the right thing to do,” he said.
The President said the violence and cynical destruction that followed is not the Zimbabwean way as “brother was turned against brother”.
“Looting police stations, steeling guns and uniforms, fomenting chaos on the internet through fake news and constant threats of violence… This is not the Zimbabwean way,” President Mnangagwa said.
He reiterated that every Zimbabwean has the right to express themselves freely – to speak out, to criticise and to protest, but noted that last week’s disturbances were far from a peaceful protest.
“Violence will not reform our economy. Violence will not rebuild our nation. Likewise, violence or misconduct on behalf of our security forces is unacceptable, intolerable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said investigations will be conducted and those found guilty will be dealt with accordingly, adding that if need be heads will roll.
“Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated. Misconduct will be investigated and anyone found guilty will face the full weight of the law. Heads will roll,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
The President implored all Zimbabweans to be peaceful, and urged the nation to embark on a process of national dialogue.
He made a dramatic u-turn from what he said last year and invited all heads of political parties, religious and civil leaders, to set aside their differences and unite.
“Let us embark on a process of national dialogue. I invite the heads of all our nation’s political parties, as well as religious and civil leaders, to set aside our differences and come together to show our nation that what unites us is stronger than what could ever divide us,” he said.
In December last year, Chamisa appealed for dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stabilise the faltering economy, but the Zanu PF leader ruled out such a possibility, saying he does not work with “losers”.
“We had our peaceful and non-violent elections, and we won with a two-thirds majority,” a combative Mnangagwa told a meeting of his party’s central committee in Harare in December.
“If you think we will form a GNU (government of national unit), then you should be dreaming.
"You have to wake up as soon as possible because it is a nightmare.
"We will run the country for the next five years as provided for by the Constitution, and in the meantime, we are preoccupied with fixing the economy,” the Zanu PF strongman said back then.
But yesterday, President Mnangagwa sung a different tune and implored all to put the economy first and “the people of Zimbabwe first” and invited Chamisa and religious and civil leaders for dialogue.
He said the country is forging ahead, with the process of restructuring, rebuilding and reforming the economy is underway.
President Mnangagwa highlighted that the process of change is not linear and “progress is never painless”.