Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has appealed for calm as his government battles to contain a debilitating economic crisis.
The 92-year-old president made the appeal while delivering a 30-minute State of the Nation address.
The president, whose health is increasingly fragile, faced a surge of opposition street protests this year against his authoritarian regime.
It has vaguely spoken of the problems. I regret that he has not been able to manage the financial crisis, he made no reference to the fiscal crisis that the country is going through.
“It has vaguely spoken of the problems. I regret that he has not been able to manage the financial crisis, he made no reference to the fiscal crisis that the country is going through and no reference to the lack of liquidity which affects all Zimbabweans. I think that is a real fault in his speech,” said Eddie Cross, member of the opposition.
“What is obvious to the Zimbabweans is that things are getting worse and worse, I would have liked that it evokes the tickets of obligation because they have completely destroyed the lives of many Zimbabweans,” said Trevor Saruwaka, another member of the opposition.
A new local currency introduced last week, has failed to end cash shortages, with many people still sleeping outside banks to access their money.
The cash crunch has meant that Mugabe’s government has failed to pay its workers on time since June.
Mugabe did not mention these issues in his speech, resulting in murmurs of protest from opposition members of parliament.
Mugabe had told thousands of children attending celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child in Harare that he is on his way out and wants his successors to do a better job.
He is the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence 36 years ago, and has used all manner of tactics to cling to power, including alleged violence against political opponents and electoral fraud.