HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC is ratcheting up the pressure on President Robert Mugabe, demanding robustly yesterday that the nonagenarian resigns immediately to save Zimbabweans from starving to death due to his and the ruling Zanu PF party’s gross misrule.
In a no-holds barred statement, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu threw everything but the kitchen sink at Mugabe — who turned 91 on Saturday last week — accusing him of presiding over the destruction of the country, its economy and the decline of public services.
He also asserted that Mugabe had become so old that it was inconceivable that he was contemplating continuing as Zimbabwe’s leader.
“Given the unmitigated collapse of all the instruments of governance coupled with the comatose economy, Robert Mugabe should proceed to do the honourable thing and immediately step down as the head of state to allow legitimate processes leading to the installation of a new and legitimate government,” Gutu said.
Pressure has been mounting all round for Mugabe to go, including from within his own party where many senior officials have been brutally purged amid murky allegations that they are plotting to oust and assassinate the nonagenarian.
Among the scores of Zanu PF bigwigs who have been ruthlessly dispensed with are former Vice President Joice Mujuru and former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa.
The calls for Mugabe to go gathered steam after he openly confessed during Zanu PF’s disputed damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare last December that his controversial wife, Grace — who is now seemingly in firm control of the party — often told him what to do.
Since Grace entered the political fray late last year, the ruling party has become a boiling cauldron of ugly infighting as bitterly opposed factions take deadly aim at each other while the country’s comatose economy continues to plummet from bad to worse — literally by the day.
But the only leader that Zimbabweans have known since the country’s independence from Britain in 1980 continues to hang own to power grimly — with his loyal supporters planning an extravagant birthday bash in Victoria Falls on Saturday.
“Zimbabweans should not be held hostage by the corrupt, incompetent and illegitimate Zanu PF regime that stole the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections.
“The nation should be allowed to move forward. Robert Mugabe is now a very old man who is also extremely frail and apparently no longer in control of his deeply fractured and divided Zanu PF party.
“The MDC shall not stand by and watch as the Zanu PF gerontocracy continues to run down the country. The time for action is now! Enough is enough,” Gutu charged yesterday.
Indeed, an economic report that was released recently painted a grim picture of the dire situation in the country, showing that average incomes in Zimbabwe were now at their lowest in 60 years and that more than 76 percent of the country’s adult population was surviving on less than $200 per month.
“Through decades of lawlessness and in certain cases, brazen disregard of the country’s Constitution, Zanu PF has managed to run down the country leading to the tragic situation whereby Zimbabwe can now qualify to be called a failed state.
“As if the violently executed so-called land reform exercise was not enough, the Zanu PF regime remains in self-destruct mode as it continues to craft and implement ruinous policies that have virtually destroyed a once vibrant commercial agricultural sector and also wreaked havoc in both commerce and industry,” Gutu said.
The MDC spokesperson went on to list seven points that he said justified that Mugabe and his party should go now.
“The Zimbabwean economy has virtually collapsed and we are now classified as a failed state mainly because of the following factors: lack of clean and safe water in all the cities, towns, growth points and villages countrywide; crippling power shortages that have virtually paralysed industry and agriculture; continued closure of companies and industries; and a collapsing public health delivery system.
“A chronic and debilitating liquidity crunch that has condemned 90 percent of the population to poverty, penury and destitution; endemic failure to align the country’s laws with the new Constitution; as well as lack of clarity on investment laws and regulations; and serious policy inconsistencies and gaps in policy implementation,” Gutu thundered further.