17 January 2019

Zimbabwe: President Says No Justification for Violence

Photo: Lee Maidza/The Herald
Suspects being led into the Harare Magistrate's Courts.

President Mnangagwa yesterday urged calm and peace in the country, saying he understood the frustration and pain many Zimbabweans were going through as his administration puts in place the fundamentals needed to transform the economy.

The Head of State and Government -- who is on a five-nation tour of Eurasia and Switzerland -- said violence would not reform the economy and that there was no justification for any against the people and property.

His remarks follow an orgy of violence and terror attacks perpetrated by MDC-Alliance and its foreign agents on Monday, which left three people, including a police officer, dead.

Posting on his Facebook page yesterday, President Mnangagwa said every Zimbabwean had a constitutional right to demonstrate, albeit peacefully.

"Over the past two days as I have been in Russia working on economic agreements that will give our economy a much needed boost, I have been deeply saddened by the events in our beloved homeland," he said.

"Wanton violence and cynical destruction is not the Zimbabwean way. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected. As I have said numerous times, everyone in Zimbabwe has the right to express themselves freely -- to speak out, to criticise and to protest.

"Unfortunately what we have witnessed is violence and vandalism instead of peaceful, legal protests. There can be no justification for violence against people and property. Violence will not reform our economy. Violence will not rebuild our nation," the President said.

Monday's violent protests saw the hooligans burning more than 30 vehicles, looting shops and attacking motorists and people intending to go to work.

President Mnangagwa said economic transformation was a huge task and Zimbabwe was on the right track.

"I understand the pain and frustration that many of you are feeling. Resolving Zimbabwe's economic challenges is a monumental task and while it may not always feel that way, we are moving in the direction. We will get there. In the meantime I call for calm and peace from all of our brothers and sisters. We are one nation, with one mission and we will realise it together," he added.

He said only investment will lead to a stronger economy.

"That is why I travelled to Moscow and that is why I will be travelling on to other countries in the region and the World Economic Forum in Davos," he said.

"In 48 hours in Moscow there are signs that serious investment is on the way. Alrosa, the world's largest diamond company, has decided to launch operations in Zimbabwe, and we have also signed a series of important agreements that will lead to investment, development and jobs."

President Mnangagwa on Tuesday met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a development which saw a raft of agreements being sealed.

The deals include a financial package to assist Zimbabwe settle its international debt and fund new projects.

The agreements cut across mining, agriculture, infrastructure and education.

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