Biti praises Zanu PF

HARARE - MDC secretary general Tendai Biti could be in hot water after admitting his party lost to Zanu PF in the watershed July 31 elections due to poor electoral messages.

Biti, who was addressing a meeting of civic groups and academic leaders in the capital Thursday, had previously alleged they lost the polls due to massive rigging, claims outrightly rejected by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

He was one of the most vocal proponents of a poll-rerun and alleged in an August 3, 2013 op/ed (reproduced on Page 2) that Zanu PF has "stolen this election to the extent that they themselves are so embarrassed".

Biti spent months championing the cause.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti reads the Zanu PF manifesto at an MDC rally ahead of the July 31, 2013 election while seated with MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.

But on Thursday night at a policy dialogue held at the Sapes Trust in Harare as Zanu PF spurned MDC calls for another coalition and amid intensifying intra-party clashes over leadership renewal, the lawyer praised the Zanu PF campaign and claimed “we didn’t do well in 2013.”

His dramatic volte face, lavishing praise on Zanu PF's campaign, has left his party to keep fighting over what it insists was electoral fraud anyway.

Zimbabwe's longtime President Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of the presidential vote on July 31, followed by  Tsvangirai at 33 percent, securing the 90-year-old in power for 34 years, another five-year term in office.

Biti claimed Zanu PF’s “bhora mugedhi” message resonated with the electorate.

He said the MDC’s  economic blueprint dubbed JUICE – an acronym for Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and Environment - launched by Tsvangirai at his 8th national policy conference held at the Jubilee Christian Centre in Milton Park, in Harare a month before the poll, was too complicated for the electorate.

JUICE aimed to make Zimbabwe's economy robust once the MDC takes power by creating one million jobs by 2018, increasing economic growth rates exponentially, further reducing inflation, delivering a $100 billion economy by 2040, improving electricity generation and building a social contract.

The former trade unionist laid much emphasis on criticising Mugabe’s handling of the economy

Biti told the policy dialogue: “I think that it is important as Zimbabweans that the democratic movement has a message. The message of NO to the big man has been exhausted. Let’s have a message, messages are key.”

An attempt by the MDC to end the "big man" syndrome, where the winner of an election is all-powerful and virtually impossible to remove, has all but failed.

“Zanu in the last election had a very simple message, bhora mugedhi,” Biti said. “Even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi. Perhaps we were too sophisticated, but what was our message because the message of change of 2000 is not the message for now.

“We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu PF was selling practical realities. We (Zanu PF) are going to give you a farm, it’s there. We are going to give you $5 000 through (Saviour) Kasukuwere’s ministry.”

Biti said his party needed to marry the message of hope and immediate delivery if it is going to win an election.

“How do we transit and balance the message of hope with the message of immediate delivery?” Biti asked.

“I think we didn’t do well in 2013 (elections). A message is a slogan, it’s mascara and it’s a makeup. What is the substance? This is where we need to articulate an alternative value system.

“What was our position on indigenisation? We had JUICE, yes, it was good but trying to explain it to mai Ezra in Chendambuya, you understand what I am saying? So the issue of articulating an alternative discourse which is walked and lived is very important.”

Biti said the opposition movement needed to change its strategies because the political economy has changed. He said the 2013 elections proved that the message of change was now a hard-sell.

“We must learn from 2013 and the lesson from 2013 is that the political economy of Zimbabwe has changed dramatically,” Biti said. “Whereas in 1999 when the MDC was formed, 60 to 70 percent of the working people in Zimbabwe were in the formal employment, in 2013 and 2014, 84 percent of the population is in the informal sector.

“So whereas the MDC could be successful, formed on the basis of the structures that the labour movement had, there is hardly any formal workforce worth talking about now.

“The challenge with the informal sector is that it operates on prediction, it operates on patronage if you want to get a table at Mupedzanhamo (flea market) in Mbare, the local Zanu PF chairperson has got to give you. If you want a place to dig for gold in Chegutu, some Zanu PF official has to give you that.

“If you are cross border (trader) and you want to walk through the airport or the border post unchallenged, there has to be some patronage somewhere. The economy has changed and destroyed the social base that the official opposition relied upon.

“So, it cannot be business as usual. The lesson from 2013 is this, how do we respond to this changing political economy of the county.”

Aides and allies to Tsvangirai, where leadership has already been struggling to keep the party together on the poll fraud allegations that have precipitated calls for Tsvangirai's ouster, were beside themselves. And once granted anonymity, they didn't mince their words.

"Why is he admitting defeat?" fumed one senior Tsvangirai aide. "He's a joke, plain and simple."

Another aide said Biti’s comment "exposes how (we) have deliberately misled our constituents and the grassroots for  the past seven months. This isn't leadership, it's hypocrisy."

A request for comment from Biti regarding the dust-up caused by his  remarks was not returned.

MDC leaders have passed their poll grievance to Southern African leaders with a view to review elections in Zimbabwe, to stage a dramatic fight over the issue, even if it cannot pass.

To be sure, observers say Biti is correct that the MDC did not  have an appealing manifesto as compared to Zanu PF’s, and of course the MDC president would never sign off on such a claim. But staunch MDC officials keep insisting on the poll rigging issue.

One insider said Biti’s statement, beamed on State TV for a record 10 minutes, was simply a tactical error.

Comments (50)

its typical zim politics, when someone wants to start his own project like what makoni did he talks rubbish about his party. biti wants to seek relevance in the political spectrum through fowl mouthing. he is both power and money hungry, let him form his own party and see who votes for him.

ad zoo - 9 March 2014

M'Biti or Mbiti

Qwela - 9 March 2014

Biti is now a bad apple. Can spoil spoil the whole basket . Be ware

GWEJE - 9 March 2014

Thats the end of Biti' s political career.

Ziziharinanyanga - 9 March 2014

So is Biti telling millions of Zimbabweans to re-join ZANU PF in order to get services, stands, or pass through the borders? This is the same system we are fighting, because it has destroyed Zimbabwe. Biti has totally gone off the people' agenda. He can join ZANU but we continue fighting ZANU.

Ziziharinanyanga - 9 March 2014

Mr Biti is a bad joke. I respect of who he is and how hard he worked for the nation during his tenure of office as finance minister, but i am thoruoghly disappointed by what he falsely told the nation. In simple terms, he is out of touch with the rest of the sober minded people. It is not too late though for him to be with the people.

mambo - 9 March 2014

Zimbabweans, have this essense of lacking analytical reading when obsessed by a dictator, we saw in 5the ealy 80s how this obsession and blindness was given to Robert Mugabe, now Its Tswangrai. Biti is merely assessing the political groung now and he not saying the election was not rigged. at the moment there is the strong informal sector as oppssed to the normal situation we had before. he simply is analysing the change in polotical dynamics

George Bango - 9 March 2014

Here is cruel proof for the doubters that this voluble imbecillic rank idiot 'lost them marbles' long way back. Infact,when God was a boy! How do you square the circle here, that in order to score cheap points against the person of Tsvangirayi you are willing to throw everything including one million of your members into God knows where? And this idiot double clown has aspirations for high office..? Coupled with this, he is the SG of the party and a lawyer to boot..How does this narcissistic funny man still find time to smile at himself in the mirror..?No need scratching heads for answers..he has lost it, his brains have gone AWOL (anyway no surprise there!)..I hope he is not going to make the issue worse by doing a Mai Mujuru..( I was misquoted when people heard you on TV)..In order to stay in the media glare he could try dwarf throwing or parrot swallowing seeing that POLITICS has failed..and failed spectacularly!!! Of course this is another reason why Morgan should resign..Where on this green earth did he think he was headed with this motley SG?

gutter poet - 9 March 2014

When a politician says this against opposition its true.Vana VaTsvangirai vana vaduku papolitics.Biti is the secretsry general Anova ndeye akaita MDC manefisto .abvuma wani kuti MDC hangakwikwidzani ne Zanu.Ko chirungu chakauya nengarava hamuchinzwisisi here .Experience is the best teacher.Vanongoti VaTsvangirai vachatonga vanorwara pfungwa.rini zvadii.topeyo ma serious BoBo Vakapenga.

nyasha - 9 March 2014

I salute you Mr Biti. A broadmind is key to the success of the MDC.

gary - 9 March 2014


Chipikiri - 10 March 2014


Zimtroulbes - 10 March 2014

Yes, MDC had bad election messages BUT ZANU-PF had nothing - Biti must shut up

MZ - 10 March 2014

This is kindergarten journalism by Lloyd Mbiba and Daily News. It seems Lloyd has never heard of the word CONTEXT. Biti's speech must be analysed in context. It reminds me of Josiah Tongogara when he said, " Ian Smith is our best teacher", soon after Smith's soldiers had attacked one ZANLA camp. A simple minded journalist would have said Tongogara had praised Smith. Far from it. What Tongo was simply saying was that the ZANLA commander was learning more ways to defend his soldiers after each attack by Rhodesian forces. Tendai Biti was thus not praising ZANU PF, he was simply saying that the opposition must adopt new tactics to counter ZANU PF's propaganda.

Teabag Masamba - 10 March 2014

biti yu thnk we have a short memory huh.yu are showing a lot of inconsistencies in yo politics are yu nt the one who was also saying election was rigged and today yu hv jst made a sudden u turn.biti its high tym yu either shape in or ship out because yu are academically gifted bt politically foolish go hang yu are being used by yo enemies chenjera

jj - 10 March 2014


MUTARE & MASVINGO - 10 March 2014

teabag what you are saying may be true but Biti says MDC's message was complicated and he uses a complicated way of explaining it hence he is now being labelled a ZanuPF supporter. There was nothing complicated in Juice because it was real. What he should have said is ZanuPF gave a prophecy of miracles and since Zimbabwean now flock for miracles they took the bait but unfortunately the prophecy is not coming to pass so we are back to reality which JUICE was promising. Handiti Sikhala adzoka SG post yave vacant iyi, Biti ku ZanuPF. Asi ndanyara.

maita - 10 March 2014

biti udza vanhu kuti wakapihwa mari yekwamarange to hell with you

mdc2014 - 10 March 2014

Biti is with u honourable

Masvingo netara - 10 March 2014

Democracy means you should not pick your party's faults! or simply being anti-ZANU PF.

DEMOCRAT - 10 March 2014

It is very sad that as the learned lot we are still primitive in analysing and accepting the same Democratic principles we claim to uphold. In any democracy people should be free to express themselves and i believe it is very honourable that Honourable Biti came out with these wise self-introspection comments. What's required right now is not the continued writing of the "Book of Lamentations" but also look at what the Party did not do right. It's childish to continue wailing about the stolen election. Honourable Biti is wise enough not to sink his head in the sand but to concede the Party's missed opportunities in having a detailed manifesto that was foreign to the simplest of Zimbabweans. I will not apologise for agreeing with the Honourable Biti just for the mute and blind following of Tsvangirayi. The greatest leaders assess themselves regularly and that what makes them who they are; Great Leaders. As a party we are failing to grasp the full picture and thus are majoring in the minor struggle. The bigger struggle is...1. How do we speak in a familiar language to the electorate 2. How do we appeal to every Zimbabwean, whether peasant, self-employed, middle class and youth. 3. How do we best serve the people We need self introspection regularly and stop this mud slinging

Genius Patriot - 10 March 2014

Biti is now telling the truth of what actually happened on 31 july 2013,please learn to accept defeat and move on.Try a new strategy next time,kwete kungoita cry babies when election results are announce every time,bvumaiwo imi we MDCT,makadyiwa pasarudzo fullstop!!!!!

Chaitichouya Chikopokopo - 10 March 2014

Biti ziva zvako zvekupotsa wadyiwa pama elections, buda and form your own party uone kuti who will vote for you

haiite - 10 March 2014

Correctly put S.G. Your analysis is clear. what some readers are forgeting is that Biti was presenting to academics nand not a rally. teabag thank you for putting it clear that Biti was not praising Zanu but appreciating some of the tactics that 0made ZANU win which same tactics were lacking in the opposition. Biti just jeft one aspect that led to MDC defeat, that is, Morgan's sexutual escapades. Tsvangirai we will continue to criticise you uchida usingade, the party is not yours. dambudziko hudofo hwako ndihwo hurikupunzira bato pasi. I salute you TB

academic - 10 March 2014

If it is true that some Western countries are with Biti then they have played straight into the hands of ZANU because Biti like Welsh last time was bought big time to destroy opposition and keep ZANU in power. I repeat mudoko mari yawakadya ingozi yaNehanda uye ichakuuraya and then they say its MDC yakuuraya. Nekudzidza kwese ikoko you are still that foolish? We used to respect you and believe Zim still had future leaders. Bennet wawabatana naye ran away when the house was on fire

Zimtroulbes - 10 March 2014

Just yesterday , in court , proving that the election was rigged Biti was saying that there were ,in hired zupco buses full of, people who looked like from north Africa who were voting .. suddenly now the zanu pf msg resonated with North africans as well..and zanu pf won fair and square.. ? Biti you are MONEY Hungry and very Corruptible. Look you got it all wrong when a few years ago you were in the forefront that Gono needs to be in front of a "Firing Squad" for looting this country. Suddenly you are representing him in court for stealing money. You are not consistent and history is littered with characters that fall by the wayside for such antics.

Mupinyu Wasvotoka - 10 March 2014

Hanzi Secretary General vakatengerwa mansion kuAustralia worth millions of Dollars. No wonder.....

Strategist - 10 March 2014

Mubvunzo mukuru ndewekuti va Biti varikutaura zvido zvevanhu here, kana pfungwa dzvavo, ko vakataura kudai tonzwa kuti ah vapinda tsawona yemugwagwa anenge asiri mabasa ekuda kutora mwoyo yeevanhu here. Politics dzinoda hungwaru- ndirikutooona madhara eZANU PF achisekerera achiti yah ,' HANTI YAKA ZVARWA NE DEMOCRACY SAKA ICHAFA NE DEMOCRACY FUTI -IYO MDC, nenyaya yavo yee democracy ma projects arikufamba ana MDC99,MDC Ncube, tamirira ana Biti vapinde muchirongwa..." Apa ndirikuona vanhu vazhinji varikuti pasina Tsvangirayi MDC haipo. Kungo kanda wo mashoko kune vanonzwa.

Muprofita - 10 March 2014

Biti is right. cf Qhubani Moyo ex- MDC Welsh.

Sikhosana - 10 March 2014

Wananchi is known for writing very complex English like Moses Chunga. Listen to Chunga speaking English he will say eh eh eh yes I can confirm that there was eh eh eh (trying to think of a very big word) an altercation between me and my brother Henry Chari.... So Biti blame your self. Now this little boy Chamisa also wrote a missive denying that he is not a booty licker in very big words that I cannot even read!!! Biti you have lost the plot zvechokwadi. When you meet Mangoma at night plotting Morgan's downfall, tell him to simplify his emotions because he is now single handedly going to destroy the MDC. Wananchi Zikomo

Courage - 10 March 2014

Thats the problem with you Mdc people no one should have a different view to yours. Now that the Brishits and Americans are now warming up to Mugabe what are you going to do. As in Tsvangirai's own words 'YOU CANT GO AT IT ALONE. Things are unraveling people. Biti is no foll he knows its coming.

Nyakudirwa - 10 March 2014

We told you so-that the man is extremely emotional.Manje apa shasha yazofongorera museva !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tshiki - 10 March 2014

I would clap hands for Mr Biti for being open minded and giving a good account of how MDC-T lost the election . Now Save has lost it because instead of accepting reality he is busy daydreaming and refusing that he is and will allways be a failiure and he must pass the button tp those who can , I really wonder how Biti and the others used to cope with this retard . shame on you Save == go and go well for you shall be removed by force since its the dwmocracy tha you seem to know very well

Mose Ruddolf ( Hitler) - 10 March 2014

Thats why I do not support these degreed people.They are so cunning.I would prefer someone who is not too educated like Tsvangson, at least we are on the same plattform.The Zanu Pf cabinet is full of degreed people but we are the poorest on the continent.Munhu ane degree anonyeperwa ne grade seven kuti dhiziri rinobuda mumatombo.Shame!

chikata - 10 March 2014

Biti is a Zimbabwean,lawyer,MP and above all a reasonable person who is able to differentiate between mbama,shamhu,chibhakera even when there is no light. Vamwe venyu ukarohwa neshamhu unongoti imbama chete ,so you must have a self introspect and a post mortem after every event ,that is where you went wrong and where you think you need an accolade. Sei makadyiwa? you were complacent muchiti tinodiwa nevanhu musingavaitire chinhu. even a father who gets home everyday with a pint of beer BUT without a loaf of bread for the children stands a greater chance of being called for hearing by his own children.You did not deliver.I know you want to say we had no means but the people want SOMETHING and no excuses.Full stop

MUSA - 10 March 2014

biti akawerenga mabhuku asi chaakafunda hapana chikwata chekukirema kutiwapase chete kufunga pasina how can u say zvinhu zvakanyora iwe wotadza kuwaproud of that or stand by your word uri Nyathi paNyadzonya nothing else

taipei - 10 March 2014

Evryone knows that Biti is not being honest with the truth, he is lying. NDamunyarira shuwa. But the focus of journalists should be to establish why Biti is saying what makes him appear very stupid. What really is the reason. Pliz investigate, the truth is out there, somewhere

Maiweee - 10 March 2014

It is obvious from the report that this newspaper sucks to Tsvangirai. Your favourite in the dispute is Tsvangirai. You have no shame.

Musona - 10 March 2014

Biti should go and hang. where were you when the party was crafting those campaign messages? he is the same person who set in the national council meeting on friday when mangoma was being suspended and as the party's chief executive he failed to advise the party. he then rushed to his law firm to speak rubbish to the world! so whats the use of having a useless ceo? RIP tendai, this is the end of the road for you politically!

Chief - 10 March 2014

the world over leaders who lead as a result of association and opportunity given to them by virtue of education usually works very hard to please those hired them.After pouring everything because they are never destined to be leaders in the first place they always destroy themselves through greedy and poor judgement,what is hpn right now in Mdc is not new,watch it pane vatosara who wre invited in the first because of their skills

preacher - 10 March 2014

what biti is saying may be true or is true, but did he tell it first to his party that we lost it that. is he helping himself and the party by doing this. why sell such important information to the enemy instead to your party even when they dont believe you. i think in that my biti has lost some point from me and other people. rethink biti a united mdc is what zanu wants. let morgan cause that division not you. still to your principles.

see - 11 March 2014

thank you biti you are a true leader. one of the qualities of a good leader is to admit and call a spade a spade zvino chematama ichi haa chinenharo dzemhanga mhanga. he is no more a brand we are prepared to vote for. vanabiti if possible form another party and dont call it MDC something its time for real change tsvangirai needs deliverance chaiyo kana TB joshua akaedza kumubatsira but the guy is arrogant and stupid. ngaaende uyoo

lloyd mataire - 11 March 2014

The “message of (democratic) change of 2000 is not the message for now” says Biti. The truth is the message of democratic change is even more relevant today than it was in 2000. No there is nothing wrong with the message but everything wrong with the messengers tasked to deliver that democratic change – they have proven to be breathtakingly incompetent! Zimbabweans are still suffering under the yoke of a corrupt and ruthlessly oppressive de facto one-party dictatorship. Mismanagement and corruption were bad in 2000, today they are even worse. The message of democratic change was born out of the need to end the criminal waste of the nation's material resources caused by mismanagement and corruption and thus end the tragic human suffering the waste had caused. The democratic component came out of the realization that the only way to end the mismanagement was to reform the country's oppressive dictatorship that denied the masses a meaningful say in the governance of the country. The people of Zimbabwe elected Biti and his fellow MDC friends on the understanding they would implement the democratic changes agreed in the GPA. Without the reforms; Mugabe would rig the elections as he had always done ever since Zanu PF got into power in 1980. Sadly MDC failed to get even one reform implemented and long behold Mugabe rigged the elections. The whole world saw the bussed in voters. Nearly a million voters were denied the right to vote because Mugabe, with the help of the Israeli company Nikuv, tampered with the voters roll. Mugabe has stubbornly refused to release the voters roll because he knows it is the smoking gun to the rigged elections. The ease with which Mugabe rigged the July 2013 elections underlines once again why it was folly to have held the elections without implementing the reforms. It would be madness to hold yet another election with no meaningful reforms.

Wilbert Mukori - 11 March 2014

He's simply scared its not clear what became of the IMf funds

jonh moyo - 12 March 2014


limbongo - 12 March 2014

im am zanu pf to the bone but one thing i like about tendai biti is that he is a pure academic who can support his arguments with evidence. he is making a comparison of the manifestos as presented by mdc and zanu pf he apriciates the tactics employed by zanu that does not mean he is one of us . his message is clear lets unite for good of zimbabwe , kwete kufamba uchiti zanu yakabira zanu nikuv those are statements of uneducated fools who dont want to accept defeat becoz anoziva kuti akuda zanu pf 2018 yakutosvika ticharamba tiri pamasvingo pane simba rejongwe

gokwe power - 13 March 2014

BITI wafongorera kunobva museve

voet - 14 March 2014

A sinking man hugs a crocodile.......biti biti

wellington gurumbadza - 14 March 2014

Biti is not saying ZANU is good, he is simply saying their manifesto was easier to sale. Whereas the MDC had a better (and more sophisticated) manifesto which is hard for most people to read, understand and relate to their daily lives. The headline is misleading! It should say "Biti calls for MDC restrategizing"

read&understand - 15 March 2014

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