Zimbabwe: Mixed Reactions to ED's SONA

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa
20 December 2017

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's State Of The Nation Address (SONA) has received mixed reactions from Members of Parliament (MPs), civic leaders and business leaders.

Mnangagwa presented his inaugural SONA on Wednesday before a joint parliamentary sitting of National Assembly and Senate where among other things promised to deal with corrupt public officials and land barons.

MDC-T Vice President, Nelson Chamisa told 263Chat that Mnangagwa's address picked on issues that have been articulated by former president, Robert Mugabe, albeit ,without any meaningful action to it.

"We have heard this before and clearly there is no substantial change (from Mugabe's SONAs) as far as I am concerned.

"This country requires healing and inclusiveness in politics and (President) Mnangagwa has not spoken on how he is going to engage the opposition and he has not spoken about how the 2018 election will be undisputed.

Chamisa said Mnangagwa ought to have assured the nation that the army (which helped Mnangagwa's ascendancy to the presidency) will not temper with the forthcoming elections.

Executive Director of Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST), John Makamure the SONA was positive calling for support, both financially and human to achieve the intended goals.

"The president relayed real issues which are affecting us daily but what is needed more is the support the good intentions of this statement.

"Sometimes we forget our role as citizens that we need to pull in one direction or ask some critical questions as to how we will achieve what the president alluded. It is also the role of the opposition to make sure that this statement is held accountable.

"overally, I am happy with his stance on corruption but again the fight against corruption needs capitalization. We need to see the anti corruption body to be equipped with necessary tools to fight corruption or else we risk seeing this SONA being like the previous ones," lamented Makamure.

Zanu PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Simon Khaya Moyo hailed the targets set out by Mnangagwa in his address saying they are achievable.

Moyo said the address complements Mnangagwa's clarion call, since his inauguration, to make Zimbabwe economically sound again and sets the tone for economic growth.

"The targets set out to cabinet are all achievable and through this SONA, we are likely to see an accelerated growth as it is no longer business as usual.This address served as a reminder, especially to the cabinet, that there is more that needs to be done," said Khaya Moyo.

Denford Mutashu, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, said Mnangagwa's address was "progressive" as it gives hope especially to the unemployed youths.

Members of parliament follow proceedings during the SONA address.

He however said the issue of externalization of funds should have been emphasized as it is contributing to the poor performance of the fiscus.

"We are quite happy with the address as it tackled a number of issues that affect the economy. Although capacity utilization and industrial output has been addressed, we also needed to hear about an export drive that will see more foreign currency coming into the country.

"Our foreign currency has been externalized and we needed to hear how we will recover that," he said .

In his address, Mnangagwa said government has also put in place some monetary incentives towards supporting domestic and export production.

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