Picture: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave his first state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday, promising to fight corruption, address the country’s ballooning external and local debt and meet people’s expectations of his administration.

Opposition MDC-Alliance members if Parliament (MPs) continued the tradition of walking out of the address, and walked out of Mnangagwa’s address.

The tradition gained traction during the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s tenure as MDC-T president, and was meant to show the then president Robert Mugabe that he was illegally in office after “stealing” the vote from the MDC-T in 2013.

Despite the walkout, Mnangagwa continued with his first address as president.

“My government is alive to the economic challenges being faced by the ordinary Zimbabwean,” Mnangagwa said.

His government recently come under fire for failing to attach the ongoing cholera outbreak the importance it deserves as the disease continues to take lives.

On Tuesday morning, 30 have been confirmed dead from the stone-age ailment, with over 4000 being hospitalised..

“My government is concerned with the outbreak of cholera,” he said.

Government has declared a state of emergency, shut down schools in affected areas, and rolled out the begging basket to curb spread of cholera which has now been reported in most parts of the country.

The government has officially launched an appeal for US$57 million to fight the outbreak.

Mnangagwa spoke against corruption adding that no one is above the law and any one found guilty would be dealt with.

He said there was a need for modern education and health provision especially targeting vulnerable groups.

Despite loud calls for Zimbabwe to dump the multi-currency system and instead joining the Rand Union, Mnangagwa said the “multi-currency system will continue until economic fundamentals are met”.

“My government will continue ongoing efforts to address the economic situation and we will continue to use the multi-currency system until fundamentals are right to bring the local currency,” he said.

 “Government has meanwhile negotiated various facilities to meet forex requirements for businesses and some of them will be disbursed this week.”

- African News Agency (ANA)