We used to get drunk on £1: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai has said he used to get drunk on £1 during his heyday as a mine worker.

The eldest of nine children, Tsvangirai was born in drought-prone Buhera, south-eastern Zimbabwe, in 1952 to a father who was a bricklayer.

After quitting school, he worked at a textile mill in Mutare, and later worked at a nickel mine in Bindura.

Launching his national youth assembly jobs campaign on Wednesday night, the former Prime Minister was nostalgic, recalling the 70s glory days when the local currency used to get him inebriated.

“When I was a worker in the mine in 1975, I was being paid Z$450 but those were equal to pounds,”

Tsvangirai recalled, adding, one could buy five beers for £1. Tsvangirai based his last campaign on an anti-corruption platform, reviving the economy and creating one million jobs in the first five years of his tenure, which he asserts is a long-term solution to the country’s insecurity and deepening poverty.

He lamented how times have changed, with Zimbabwe shelving its domestic currency and adopting a basket of scarce foreign currencies.

The MDC leader said the 70s were great years.

Takamwa doro tikange ticharutsa nemari iyi, (We drank beer until we felt like vomiting) but of course those were the old days, handichamwi zvangu (I no longer drink) but we recall those days with nostalgia,” said the MDC leader.

He was speaking at a forum where MDC youths were demanding the 2 million jobs promised by President Robert Mugabe during the election campaign last year.

Most of the youths in attendance have never worked and they listened to Tsvangirai attentively as he reminisced about the good old days.

“In 1972 when I went to work for the first time I worked in a textile mill which employed over 6 000 workers,” he said.

“And when I moved from the textile sector, I joined the mining industry where there were 70 000 mine workers.

“And when you look at agriculture, there were over 400 000 workers and I can go on and on but what I want to ask is, what has gone wrong?”

Tsvangirai warned that Zimbabwe was sitting on a time bomb and at a very high security risk if the issue of jobs was not addressed.

“Zanu PF should always understand that unless there is a new direction and a new policy thrust, this country is doomed and this country cannot even create one job,” he said.

“We need to change direction and we need to change the mind-set because we cannot turn around the economic decline without changing direction.”

He said Zimbabwe was not facing an economic crisis.

“Zimbabwe is facing a political crisis that is manifesting itself in economic symptoms that we face and those symptoms are poverty, unemployment, lack of dignity and all that,” he said.

“Unless the political paralysis is resolved, there is no way you can resolve the economic problems that this country is facing.

“First and foremost, resolve the political crisis and the economic benefits will fall thereafter.”

Tsvangirai also alleged that 90-year-old Mugabe was the main impediment to the country’s economic recovery as he has pursued retrogressive policies.

“You can’t have a leader who promotes personal cults, domination and privatisation of national institutions, corruption and all those things,” he said.

“In other words, unless we have a transformative mind, there is no way this economy can move forward,” Tsvangirai said.

“We are stuck with an albatross called Robert Mugabe, closeted at the state House and does not know what is happening around him.

“You are talking about jobs and he doesn’t feel there is a crisis and in fact at one time he told me that there is no country that gets broke.

“Can you imagine someone like him who says a nation can’t get broke? What new ideas can he bring?”

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF was finally conceding to the need for dialogue.

“I hear Zanu PF says let’s talk; some of us saw it from the very beginning that they are going nowhere,” he said.

“And if they are going nowhere, they have to realise that Zimbabweans have a right to resolve their political and economic crisis and I hope sense has prevailed in their old minds.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo this week said dialogue was possible with Tsvangirai, but first he had to drop claims that Mugabe and his party rigged last July’s elections.

Comments (12)

In the UK beer costs slightly above a pound per pint. It was then but the present is different may be that was not the best way of expressing the dire economic situation we find ourselves in. Nonetheless we are suffering and we were hoping that opposition parties with our support were going to bring about the positive change we are always dreaming of but greed and power hunger are threatening the existence of the same parties. Let us all turn to God he is always dependable let us not exalt man , I mean, ANY man above him. He is the answer.

Busto - 11 July 2014

There goes my brother again. Is it really necessary for people to aspire being in the past? In Rhodesia for that matter! Let those who fought the liberation war say these statements not someone who did not participate in the struggle and whose party is foriegn funded. I am still hopeful that things will change for the better for us. Shona inoti usatuke mandodo nemibhadha yake. Its like this guy is castigating those who fought for independence. Taurai zvimwe Save izvi zvinorwadza vamwe venyu vakarasikirwa nevadikanwi vavo.

zvirozviyedzwa - 11 July 2014

so changirai(the way south africans and batswana pronounce the name) you think rhodesia was better than zimbabwe because you could get inebriated after spending just one pound, small minds discuss small issues.

cde churucheminzwa - 11 July 2014

Sugar (2kg) was 15c for 5 years, hot chips 3c, chipondamoyo 4c for 5 years, Salisbury United bus fare 6 cents a trip, beef (0.5kg) 20c etc

Lameck Garapo - 11 July 2014

lets be honest ,this guy is a prophet ,we call him names and laugh at him when he calls for these things and in our faces they happen.i dont see the problem with him talking about beer ,considering delta because of beer is one of the most capitalised stock on our exchange.iam very happy Morgan did not fight that stupid war ,otherwise he would be as paranoid as all these sick war vets,better being enslaved by whites than a black man,the latter knows no boundaries and lacks humanitarian understanding .iam a zimbo calll names ,i wish we could return to drinking and getting drunk on a pound .look at bots we laugh at them because they love their beer but their economy is strong..we are a nation full of empty ideas and full of borrowed dignity.we want those Rhodesian days..smith akafa zviya ..would have voted for him than that old oblivious man.tatambura pamusaka peZANU

ndomwa - 11 July 2014

Hatidaro. Zvichanaka chete. No to Rhodes. Do not dispare my friend. Zvinonaka zvinodhura. Do not back padel.

zvirozviyedzwa - 11 July 2014

What a shame,wishful thinking that Rhodesia was better,its not surprising especially if this is coming from Save who abandoned the struggle to save the interest of whites which he is still saving till today.its only that the whites now realize that our stooge can provide what they wanted and decided to dump him now for real guys.Pliz go and die man if you have nothing to contribute to Zimbabwe,Zimbabwe will never be a colony again,never,forget about Rhodesia and smile.

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 11 July 2014

so how do we develop this country?

snowden - 12 July 2014

Tsvangirai is the same person who is blocking or sacrificing youtths in the Mdc-t by barring them to be MPS by his policy called women reservation seats

ANALYST - 12 July 2014

It real surprises me to here a well educated person castigating Tsvangirai for just a mare example which is a reality. when I first went to school in 1981 we were buying Bread for 25c a loaf. and the last time I remember it was not affordable to buy Bread with a ZimDollar. yo the list goes all the way but remember, we need a country with workable ideas which goes into reality not the Zimasset which is in air. Where are the jobs Zanu Pf. we want Jobs then we keep quiet. The politics we have learned in Zimbabwe its about food. Kutenda cherima kutenda wauya nacho. apatavigirwa sadza remaGMO anobva kuAmerica anorimirwa mhuka. We are living like beggars in our own country because of poor policies which only enrich the elite group in Zanu Pf. Tsavngirai is right give us the jobs you promised 12months ago. where are they. I know Tsvangirai has brains from way back when the struggle was still hive when he abandoned the grave train. he could see with a clear vision that was a waste of people's live and a waste of time to follow the people who enslave their fellow brothers.. Go and work for one of the Zanu Pf bosses and see if you will get a decent salary let alone a bonus. its Pity that we are leaving the waste Legacy for our future generations because of greed. God should forgive people with no brains.

Danga Remombe - 12 July 2014

It is true that our country's economy has become exessively retarded under zanu no doubt about it- however, this kind of talk from a person who was living in comfort provided for by whites does not help in any way. Better if such a comment is made by those who fought in the struggle. That way one would be able to assess objectivity than emotional irresponsible comments. Just to remind you that the white government did not afford this guy a home in highlands where he reside today.

taurai - 13 July 2014

Blaz ava idofo. Daily News look for newsworthy stuff to report on...

Nyakudirwa - 15 July 2014

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