VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed he is in charge of the reform agenda that Zimbabwe has set itself to follow and is willing to listen to “fresh ideas”.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has fought against opposition from within Zanu PF in his bid to re-engage the West as hardliners sought to throw spanners in the works.
Hardliners such as War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa have accused Chinamasa of turning himself into a de facto “spokesperson” for the IMF which, Mutsvangwa claims is “trying to topple President Robert Mugabe”.
On Friday Chinamasa appeared to get key backing from Mnangagwa for his reforms.
The VP said government is committed to the reform agenda which has seen relations with multi-lateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank after years of frosty engagements.
“Government remains committed to making the requisite economic reforms to attract Foreign Direct Investment and has put in place a raft of measures so that Zimbabwe becomes competitive investment destination.
“I am charged with that responsibility of making Zimbabwe competitive and if anyone among you has better ideas which you think I don’t have you are welcome to come and assist,” said Mnangagwa.
Seen as President Mugabe’s heir apparent, Mnangagwa has, since his appointment to the vice presidency, stayed clear of the political infighting within the ruling party and consistently stuck to government business.
He has conspicuously been absent from First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies at which his counterpart Phelekezela Mphoko has been reduced to the role of introducing Grace to hired crowds.
On Friday he told delegates gathered at an event to celebrate the United Nations’ 70th anniversary that Zimbabwe is ready for economic reform.
“I am aware that the press went out of its way when (Aliko) Dangote (Nigerian billionaire) came to say because he was a billionaire we shortened everything.
“No, we would want to do that to everybody not to Dangote alone.”
Dangote jetted into Zimbabwe last month and immediately promised to put up a cement manufacturing plant worth almost half a billion dollars raising hopes of an investor flood for a teetering economy.
However, cynics have been quick to point to Zimbabwe’s indigenisation law that forces investors to cede 51% free to local as an impediment to investors.
Government has also quickly moved to make changes to its pre-conditions before setting up a business.
The government, through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), announced a host of reforms “to improve the ease of doing business”.