Zimbabwe opposition walk out of Mnangagwa’s first speech

They accuse the president not being legitimately elected after a disputed vote and of wasting public money.

Zimbabwe’s opposition politicians walked out of parliament on Tuesday during President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s first state of the nation address since the disputed election.

According to the opposition, his government was not legitimately elected and accuse it of wasting public money.

Members of Parliament from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that is led by Nelson Chamisa heckled Mr Mnangagwa when he started reading his speech before filing out.

Mr Chamisa – who is not a member of parliament and lost a court challenge to Mr Mnangagwa’s win last month – maintains that he was cheated of victory by the electoral board and says the 76-year-old president lack legitimacy.

After leaving parliament, the MDC MPs broke into song denouncing the ruling ZANU-PF party.

“As the MDC we cannot sit there and be addressed by a person who does not even respect the rule of law,” MDC national chairperson Tabitha Khumalo told Reuters.

ZANU-PF’s chief whip in parliament Pupurai Togarepi described the MPs’ conduct as unfortunate, adding: “We hope that over time they will come to their senses, it’s not about grandstanding but building the country together.”

Mr Mnangagwa, who has previously called for unity among political parties to help rebuild the shattered economy, said the elections were now in the past.

“The election period is decisively behind us. It is now time for us as members of parliament and political leaders to exert our efforts towards delivering promises we made to the electorate,” Mr Mnangagwa said in his speech.

The president promised to bring a series of bills to parliament, including on giving more power to Zimbabwe’s 10 regions, revamping the process of registering companies and creating a one-stop investment agency.

Mr Mnangagwa, who came to power in November after Robert Mugabe was removed in a coup, faces the huge task of ending Zimbabwe’s international pariah status and fixing an economy afflicted by high unemployment and foreign currency shortages.

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