President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for fee and peaceful elections adding “let us never allow our political discourse turn poisonous”.
He said this in Bulawayo today at a Thanksgiving service organised by churches in the second city.
This was Mnangagwa’s first visit to Bulawayo since he became president.
The last time he was in the city, he received a resounding welcome from party supporters that came to attend the last youth interface rally where the then first lady Grace Mugabe was booed.
This cost Mnangagwa his job two days later, and he was expelled from the party two days after his dismissal as the country’s vice-president.
Mnangagwa was, however, back in 16 days after the military intervened forcing Mugabe to resign on 21 November.
Mnangagwa was sworn in as the country’s president on 24 November.
According to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Mnangagwa told the church members that only a prayerful nation is bound for prosperity.
“Mwari ndiye watinofanira kunamata, tigonamata, tigonamata, tigonamata,” he said.
He also called on churches to help in the development of the country by helping to stamp out social ills such as drug abuse, child abuse and corruption.
Mnangagwa said he was committed to peaceful elections next year because it is only through free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2018 that Zimbabwe “can move forward peacefully, politically and economically”.
Mnangagwa is currently completing Mugabe’s term of office and is seeking his own mandate to revive the country. He has given his administration 100 days to revive the economy and some of his critics say he is likely to deliver.
The opposition has expressed fears that Mnangagwa might concentrate on economic reforms- which will definitely win him votes as people are desperate for jobs and better lives- than on political reforms.
He seems, however, to be trying to tackle both.
“On behalf of my government, my family, I take this chance to wish all Zimbabweans a Great New Year, 2018. May God give you strength and courage to step forward with this New Year and make it as astounding as the previous one!” he said today in his New Year message on his twitter handle.
“As we usher in 2018, let us remember that we individually & collectively have a role to play in shaping things that matter to us. 2017 remains in our history as we all remember the freedom and the political change our country went through.”
Information permanent secretary George Charamba has warned the public against what he called fake social media accounts purportedly run on behalf of the first family.