May 4, 2018 / 2:52 PM / 7 months ago

Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa urges party unity to deliver "thunderous" win

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa urged his party on Friday to unite after disputed internal polls, saying this will ensure a “thunderous” win in elections set for July, which would allow a ZANU-PF government to provide jobs and tackle corruption.

Mnangagwa took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe last November after the 94-year-old leader was forced to resign following a de facto military coup.

If certified free and fair by the international community, the presidential, parliamentary and council elections, whose date has not been fixed, could lead to resumption of financial aid by foreign lenders for the first time in two decades.

While launching the ZANU-PF election manifesto in the capital, Mnangagwa said his party’s leadership, the politburo, would review primary election results on Saturday and may order re-runs in some constituencies.

Seven government ministers and several allies of Mnangagwa were defeated in the polls this week.

Mnangagwa is trying to break away from Mugabe’s policies with his “open for business” policy. But his critics say after serving in each of Mugabe’s governments since independence from Britain in 1980, Mnangagwa has little to offer.

“Let us put our differences aside and campaign for the thunderous victory of our revolutionary party. A house divided cannot stand,” Mnangagwa said.

The 75-year-old leader promised better conditions for government workers following public sector strikes by doctors and nurses in March and April. Teachers say they will not go back to work when schools re-open on Tuesday.

Mnangagwa talked up his government’s achievements since assuming office, adding that foreign investors had promised more than $11 billion in investments, which his administration would ensure materialised.

“The condition of service of our teachers, health workers, security forces and general civil servants will be reviewed with the view of improving their conditions of service,” he said.

Under the manifesto’s “Unite, fight corruption, develop, re-engage, create jobs” theme, ZANU-PF promises annual economic growth of 6 percent for five years, foreign direct investment of $5 billion annually and will build 1.5 million houses.

Under the ZANU-PF government, the mining sector will be opened up to more investors, farmers will have leases for their land, roads will be rebuilt and power generation increased to 3,000 MW from 1,800 MW, the manifesto said.

Zimbabwe is in the grips of severe shortages of dollars that have curbed imports, unemployment rate is above 80 percent and public infrastructure like roads is in decay.

Editing by James Macharia and Richard Balmforth

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