President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for collective efforts by all Zimbabweans regardless of colour or race in solving the challenges bedevilling the country.

President Mnangagwa made the remarks while addressing multitudes of minority groups who attended a meeting with the Zanu PF leadership at the Borrowdale Race Course today (Saturday).

The end of the 37 year reign by former President Robert Mugabe has delivered new opportunities and expectations for the first time in Zimbabwe.

President Mnangagwa who was accompanied by Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga, National Chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Harare Metropolitan Province Minister of State Miriam Chikukwa and Zanu PF Harare Province leadership freely interacted with members of minority groups residing in Zimbabwe.

The meeting kicked off with a representative of the minority groups Mr Vaggo Haritatos outlining the challenges that they expect government to address that include the erosion of pension payouts, assistance for senior citizens, lack of a local currency, the illegal money market and affordable quality health care among other challenges.

In his response to the issues raised, President Mnangagwa a reformist and pragmatist, made a passionate plea to an end to segregation saying the country belongs to everyone who calls it home not because of race or colour, adding collective efforts are key to solving the country’s challenges.

Zanu PF is the party of choice because it is founded on values of unity, peace and development.

President Mnangagwa said there is no country which does not want its own currency promising that the government is seized with the matter.

“The new administration wants to see a Zimbabwe where no one is treated like a second class citizen and the issue of labelling some people aliens yet they were born in this country or have lived in this country for many years must be abolished,” he said.

President Mnangagwa also said the country’s re-engagement efforts are bearing positive fruits.

He urged the private sector to dialogue with the government in order to build a better Zimbabwe.

The government has taken a stance to prioritise social service sectors like health and education and those ministries will be getting allocations that meet the accepted thresholds.

On Zimbabweans in the diaspora who are proposing that government should offer them incentives to come back home, President Mnangagwa said they must be patriotic and must not expect to get preferential treatment.

Zanu PF aspiring National Assembly candidate for Harare North Tongesai Mudambo and aspiring councillor for ward 18 Angeline Zakaraya also attended the meeting. 

The President also said land is one of the country’s most sensitive political topics.

He said he was part of the government that took a decision to embark on the Land Reform Programme even if it costed the country its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The country’s fast track Land Reform Programme saw the government acquiring more than 3 000 farms for redistribution to address the land imbalances.

President Mnangagwa said he does not regret being part of the government that took the decision to redistribute the land.   

He, however, promised to stop illegal land seizures and to restore property rights saying the rule of law must prevail and no new farm invasions will be tolerated.

He castigated people in positions of authority who are in the habit of running down farms and then grabbing another farm which they again fail to fully utilise.

The government is now offering 99-year leases to white farmers, a deal previously reserved for black Zimbabweans and President Mnangagwa said there is no black farmer or white farmer, under the new dispensation all farmers are Zimbabwean farmers.

Meanwhile, the old and young Zimbabweans who attended the interactive meeting with President Mnangagwa paid tribute to his visionary, transformational and servant leadership.

When representatives of the minority groups requested for a meeting with the country’s leadership, they did not expect a quick and positive response.

The turnout at Saturday’s (today) meeting was a clear demonstration that a lot of historical challenges can be resolved particularly the country’s socio-economic and political differences when people of all classes and races freely interact and share ideas.

Some of the people who attended the interactive meeting with the Zanu PF leadership at the Borrowdale Race Course expressed confidence in the new government’s pledge to give equal treatment to those in the commercial farming sector which is the mainstay of the economy.

Others commended President Mnangagwa for not following his predecessor’s footsteps that successfully isolated the country from the international community.

After the meeting, President Mnangagwa was presented with a soccer ball in line with the popular ‘bhora mugedhi’ slogan and to symbolise the pledge by people of other races in the country to vote for the Zanu PF presidential candidate as well as Zanu PF candidates in the July 30 harmonised elections.