FORMER Zimbabwe Vice-President Joice Mujuru has called on President Robert Mugabe to call for fresh elections in the face of a collapsed economy, saying her newly-formed party, Zimbabwe People First, was “the future” and had the “solution”.
Speaking at a state of the nation address at her Chisipite home in Harare on Tuesday, Mujuru called on protesters to “respect life, protect property and respect other people’s views”.
“Instead of repressing and suppressing the popular sentiments among the people manifesting in the demonstrations, government has to address the causes of the myriad problems facing the country,” she said.
“In view of these myriad problems, we challenge Robert Mugabe to call for fresh elections now to get a new mandate if he thinks people have forgotten his promise of two million jobs.”
Mujuru said government’s decision to ban imports of basics without local industry to competitively meet that demand was “unfortunate and ill-timed”.
“The importation of basic commodities was providing a livelihood while meeting the gap caused by lack of local industrial production.
“This is even more telling when such a decision was taken when there is rampant unemployment at over 80 percent,” she said.
The former VP ‑- kicked out of government and Zanu PF for allegedly plotting to topple Mugabe -‑ also took a dig at her former boss and top government officials who sought medical attention in foreign lands.
“If indeed we are genuine in protecting local industry, why are we not extending the ban to all sectors of the economy, including access to foreign medical facilities and services?
Mujuru made the remarks as activists have called for a nationwide shutdown on Wednesday, saying they want government to address a host of challenges the country is going through.
Mass protests have been taking place around the country in the past few days, the latest being in Harare and suburbs surrounding the capital city.
Africa News Agency