President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday told restive Zanu PF chefs, who he said were using political positions to achieve selfish and corrupt ends to sabotage the economy, that he was coming for them.
Addressing the Zanu PF central committee, where Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga was conspicuous by his absence, Mnangagwa said there was too much indiscipline in the ruling party and that he would show no leniency to those caught on the wrong side of the law.
“In the wake of extremely wicked activities by gluttonous persons and business in our country, I challenge you as the party to be highly disciplined and upright in all your dealings,” he said.
“Shun all forms of corruption and be exemplary. Political positions should never be a licence to loot or abuse the offices you hold. In the Second Republic, there will be no leniency to the corrupt and those who cause suffering to our people.”
Having won the disputed July 30 election, Mnangagwa is facing the biggest challenge to his leadership as long-running currency shortages have worsened and the economy continues to deteriorate.
The increase of the tax on electronic transactions in an economy hard up on cash caused prices to spike, while the separation of accounts into United States dollar-backed accounts and local accounts caused panic and prompted shoppers to stockpile goods.
Mnangagwa also appeared irked by utterances by senior members of his party over the crisis, who demanded that government be accountable to the party.
“I exhort party members to desist from indulging in showcase utterances which prop up personal glory or image. Let us be wary of putting the party into disrepute or discord. There is one spokesperson for the party and one spokesperson for government. We must preach hope and unity of purpose for the good of our people and the economy at large,” he said.
“Government is fully aware of the machinations by some detractors and economic opportunists who are bent on creating despondency in the country through the manipulation of the foreign currency market and creation of artificial shortages.
“This has caused untold suffering to our people. As a listening President, I have heard their cries and my government is determined to provide solutions to these perennial challenges.”
He added that the lifting of the imports ban was one such move meant to provide interim relief to the people.
“My government will neither let the people go without basic commodities nor allow the willy-nilly depletion of incomes by a few rogue businesses and persons,” Mnangagwa said.
“Just yesterday (Wednesday), we concluded (the) purchase of fuel three times more than we used to buy, to make sure that we flood the market.”
Mnangagwa blamed the shortages on social media, which he said was influencing panic-buying and vowed his government would work to put an end to the shortages.
He challenged his party to be bold in the face of political and economic reforms, urging central committee members to focus on proffering solutions to the country’s economic challenges rather than engaging in counter-productive behaviour on social media.
Mnangagwa also promised to flash out all ghost workers from government as part of some austerity measures to solve the economic crisis, and insisted the country’s surrogate currency, the bond note that has fallen drastically in the past weeks to the US dollar, will continue to trade at par with the greenback.
“People may trade at whatever rate, but the official position still remains that the US dollar and bond note trade at 1:1,’” he said in a subtle admission that the surrogate currency did not carry the same value with the US dollar.
The Zanu PF leader ruled out forming a coalition government with the opposition MDC Alliance.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF has shut out former youth leader Kudzanai Chipanga and Innocent Hamandishe, who had applied to re-join the party.
Party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said they were still monitoring Chipanga, who read a strong-worded statement against the military days before the military intervention last year, while Hamandishe remains expelled.
Anastacia Ndlovu was readmitted into the party.
Moyo said the party was pleased with preparations for its upcoming national conference to be held in Gwanda in December.
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