Zimbabwe: President Emmerson Mnangagwa's 100 days in office

Zimbabwe: President Emmerson Mnangagwa's 100 days in office
From Al Jazeera - March 5, 2018

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office 100 days ago, promising change and progressive steps towards a more democratic future after 37 years of Robert Mugabe's iron-fisted rule.

However, his 100-day plan of action to stimulate the economy, attract foreign investment, curb corruption and promote human rights has received mixed reviews in the country.

Since Mnangagwa took power, free state medicalcare for children and the elderly and a temporary reduction in fuel prices have been introduced.

The government has also removed police roadblocks and spot fines for traffic offences, which many see as having a positive impact on society.

The proposed establishment of special anti-corruption courts and the arrests of several high-profile figures on allegations of corruption have also been welcomed by the public, but some, including Ida Sibanda, a 57-year-old former school teacher, say more must be done to root out corruption.

"Her has done a good job so far in getting rid of roadblocks and arresting corrupt people," Sibanda told Al Jazeera.

"But there are some in his own cabinet who must go behind bars."

In his crackdown on corruption, Mnangagwa issued a three-month amnesty in December to return looted money.

According to the new president, at least $250m out of an estimated $1.3bn externalised funds have been repatriated since the amnesty began.

In an effort to re-engage with the world with the aim of reviving Zimbabwe's economy, Mnangagwa has cut new deals with Belarus, Russia and China.

He also recently commissioned a South African company to supply of hundreds of train wagons and locomotives for $400m for the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), a struggling state-owned enterprise once hailed as southern Africa's transport beacon.

Government efforts to revive industry, which currently operates atless than 50 percentcapacity, has some hoping a better future might be possible.

Job creation hopes

Gilbert Nyoni, a 48-year-old self-employed panel beater, said the $20m lifeline recently given to the Cold Storage Company (CSC) shows some sign that one of the country's largest meat abattoirs could soon operate at full capacity.

Nyoni, who currently works at a car scrapyard behind the giant slaughterhouse, said he hopes that efforts to support CSC would translate into job creation.

"I can feel some change even though it's small. Things may not be where we want them to be, but I think if this government continues working, we will get there," Nyoni told Al Jazeera.

"If industries like CSC and others are reopened as they [the government] promise then there will be real jobs for people."

While some see signs of change on the horizon, others remain sceptical as long bank queues and cash shortages persist.

"After 100 days I ca not see the change. If anything, things are changing for the worse and not for the etter," said Marshall Zvandasara, 27, who makes sofas in a dimly lit workshop behind the CSC.

"Now that this 100 days is gone, are we going to start counting another 100 days again waiting to see change, how many times will we count before the economy gets better?"

'Breakthrough needed'


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