By Idah Mhetu
ZANU PF leader and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised his policies meant to turnaround the fortunes of the country will begin to bear fruit by the end of the year.
Mnangagwa told his party’s politburo in Harare on Wednesday that the pain citizens were going through was necessary declaring he will not be pushed into “populist policies.”
“Our task remains enormous but if we remain united nothing is impossible. I am aware that our current austerity measures are causing some hardships to our people.
“But this is necessary for us to have a stable and growing economy which is in sync with others in the region and elsewhere,” said Mnangagwa.
Since taking charge after a military coup in November 2017, the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated under his watch but Mnangagwa maintains his austerity policies are the right medicine for a country that has groaned under economic difficulties for the last 20 years.
The belt-tightening that critics argue is only seen among the poor while Mnangagwa and those close to him constantly fly in expensive hired jets, has pushed Zimbabweans to the brink. In January violent protests triggered by a 150% fuel price hike rocked the country forcing the Zanu PF leader to deploy the military. Live ammunition was used leaving 17 people dead, while scores are nursing gunshot wounds to this day.
But Mnangagwa told the Zanu PF executive body that he will not be swayed into populist policies such as those chosen by his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
“If we choose populist policies we will be doing a disservice to our country. So we must brace up and endure the hardships, albeit always explaining to our people what we are trying to do.
“As I highlighted in the past the situation will begin to get better by the end of the year,” he said.
The Zanu PF leader has projected himself as a reformer gaining support from international multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund who have endorsed his policies.
However, at home Mnangagwa has become public enemy number one with opposition and anti-government groups constantly threatening to roll out protests.
His claims that the austerity measures fronted by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube will work have become the butt of jokes. Zimbabwe is facing one of its worst fuel and electricity crises and queues continue at banks despite the introduction of a designated local currency.