Less than a week after he was sworn in as President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa has begun cracking the whip on corrupt government officials and corporates in a move that is seen as an attempt to prove his critics wrong.
In a statement released on Tuesday, his first official statement since he took the oath of office on Friday, Mnangagwa gave amnesty to individuals and local companies that are currently hiding illegally acquired money abroad to surrender it before the end of February next year.
The former vice-president has also warned that those who fail to comply with the directive will be arrested and prosecuted.
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“Such malpractices constitute a very serious economic crime against the people of Zimbabwe,” the statement read in part.
“Those affected are thus encouraged to take advantage of the three-month moratorium to return the illegally externalized funds and assets in order to avoid the pain and ignominy of being visited by the long arm of the law.”
Challenging the Status Quo
Mnangagwa, who is under immense pressure to overturn the current poor state of Zimbabwe’s economy, further announced that he will soon be downsizing his government by merging some departments to ensure efficiency.
These changes will help to reduce the country’s bloated wage bill, which currently accounts for over 90 percent of the national budget.
“My government will have no tolerance for bureaucratic slothfulness, which is quick to brandish procedures as an excuse for stalling service delivery to citizens, investors and other stakeholders,” Mnangagwa said in the statement.
But the new head of state dispelled fears of a blanket rationalization of the public service sector, insisting that only those who have attained the retirement age will be laid off. He is set to announce a new cabinet before the end of the week.
Currently, Zimbabwe is facing one of the worst financial crises in its history, with pundits warning that the country’s economy could be on verge of collapse. Most of these economic setbacks have largely been blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s regime, which was in power for close to 40 years.
All eyes are now on Mnangagwa to see if he will be able to challenge the status quo and deliver Zimbabwe out of the current predicament.