By Kuda Bwititi recently in Gaborone, Botswana
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reiterated that he will step down if he loses the elections to be held in a few months. He made the remarks while addressing hundreds of Zimbabweans living in Botswana who attended an interactive dialogue with him on Monday.
He was responding to a question on whether he will accept defeat. President Mnangagwa challenged those that did not want to vote for him to do so, saying he would still romp to victory in the polls.
“The test of the pudding is in the eating. My brother you are welcome to come and vote in Zimbabwe. There are four harmonised elections. You will vote for the President in a separate vote, the MP, the councillor and the Senate.
“So if you are worried about me, come and cast a vote against me, but I will still win,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Mnangagwa said if he loses the election, he would gladly step down to allow the wishes of the people to prosper. He expressed confidence of defeating the opposition in the elections to be held around July this year.
“In Zimbabwe when we had our Constitutional vote in 2000, we lost, but we were expected to win. And indeed, if I lose, I will step down my brother and with grace because the people would have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
(It is worth pointing out that in 2008 when former President Robert Mugabe lost elections to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai it was Mnangagwa as chairman of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) that supervised ‘Operation Mavhotera Papi’ – Where did you vote? Over 200 opposition supporters were murdered by army operatives deployed countrywide).
Mnangagwa said under the Government’s “Zimbabwe is open for Business” stance, foreigners that invest money in the country can repatriate their investments to their home countries, provided they do not breach the Exchange Control Act.
During the explosive dialogue, chief executive of Choppies Botswana Ramachandran Ottapathu, who partnered former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko to set up the retail chain in Zimbabwe, said he had never received persecution from the Zimbabwe Government despite the former’s shameful exit from Government.
“After former Vice President Mphoko was fired, I had been told that I would be persecuted if I went to Zimbabwe. But I was shocked when I was treated very well and all my 32 shops are still running in the country.
“I would like to thank you Your Excellency for that and it shows Zimbabwe is open for business” he said.
During the meeting, concern was also raised about ill-treatment of Zimbabweans living in Botswana with authorities saying talks are currently underway with the Government to address the issue.
Other matters raised include the high cost of doing business in the country, request by the Diaspora community to be allocated land and to be allowed to vote.
Mnangagwa said he would remain a listening President and address all issues raised by the people. He said Government would continue the fight against corruption, saying the full results of the anti-graft drive will show in time. The President also said there had been positive response to the moratorium that he issued for those that externalised funds to return the money. The Herald