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I’m committed to democracy: ED

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday told the world that his government had implemented political and legislative reforms and was entrenching constitutionalism, democracy and rule of law, including protection of property rights. BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE Mnangagwa was addressing the 75th United National General Assembly in a virtual meeting after world leaders failed to travel to New York, the United States, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that has left world economies squalling. “My administration is decisive in entrenching constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law, including the protection of property rights. The commitment of my government to these cardinal principles remains unwavering,” he said. Mnangagwa’s claims are despite growing concerns over prevailing gross human rights violations by his regime battling to contain internal strife. Human rights lobby groups have claimed that about 105 people have been abducted and tortured since Mnangagwa grabbed power in a November 2017 military coup against his long-time boss, the late former President Robert Mugabe. A crude crackdown on dissent ahead of the July 31 protests organised by citizens has sparked international condemnation for Mnangagwa. The United Nations, European Union and African Union have also raised concern, forcing South Africa to dispatch two delegations recently to appreciate the situation in Harare. Despite Mnangagwa insisting there is no crisis in the country, the South African ruling African National Congress party delegation led by secretary-general Ace Magashule has maintained there is a crisis in Harare. South Africa has insisted there was need for political reforms in Zimbabwe. But Mnangagwa said: “The alignment of our laws to the Constitution is almost complete, while new pieces of legislation continue to be enacted to strengthen our institutions. “The raft of political reforms will benefit the generality of Zimbabweans as we consolidate our respect for human rights. My administration places great importance on fostering national unity and cohesion.” He added: “It is in this spirit and in line with our Constitution that in July this year, my government concluded the landmark Global Compensation Deed, with former farm owners. We count on the support and goodwill of the international community as we mobilise resources to implement the agreement.” Mnangagwa said he had initiated dialogue with 2018 election losers saying he initiated a home-grown Political Actors Dialogue with them to move the country forward. “My administration places great importance on fostering national unity and cohesion. The culture of dialogue across all sectors is taking root with activities and programmes under the auspices of our home-grown Political Actors Dialogue, gaining momentum,” he said. The Zanu PF leader also claimed his government had provided $18 billion economic stimulus packages to businesses and the vulnerable during the COVID-19-induced lockdown. “Over and above instituting phased lockdowns, following the World Health Organization guidelines,

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