Return home, Mugabe told

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has implored President Robert Mugabe to cut short his overseas holiday and return home to attend to the country’s mounting economic crisis and threats of mass starvation.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday after witnessing first hand “the terrible hardships that Zimbabweans are groaning under in Gutu” — where he had gone to attend the funeral of Kuwadzana legislator Nelson Chamisa’s younger brother — Tsvangirai said Mugabe should come back home to see for himself the suffering of most citizens.

The former prime minister in the government of national unity said he had witnessed heart-rending poverty in Gutu, which he said was being exacerbated by the worsening hunger which was “everywhere”.

In that light, Tsvangirai also advised Mugabe to declare a state of emergency so that resources could be mobilised quickly to avert the looming mass starvation in the country — that is blamed on Zanu PF’s misrule and the El Nino weather phenomenon that has seen little rainfall activity this agricultural season.

“Even though I went to Gutu for the funeral of Chamisa’s late brother, it was very obvious that the country is facing a drought which appears to be more severe than previous ones.

“My assessment is that this drought is going to be devastating and, therefore, it’s critical for the government to show more energy and declare a state of emergency to avert disaster,” Tsvangirai said — adding that this would enable both local and overseas development partners to chip in.

He said it would be unfortunate if the government continued to move “as lethargically as it was doing” on this emergency, pointing to the 2008 cholera outbreak which saw Mugabe’s administration “burying its head in the sand and refusing to declare a state of emergency” with disastrous consequences.

As a result of the government’s incompetence then, more than 4 000 lives were needlessly lost to the cholera epidemic — with Tsvangirai expressing the fear that “the current situation tragically mirrors the 2008 crisis”.

“We need to mobilise now and energetically, both the private and public sectors, as well as our international partners to deal with the situation,” Tsvangirai implored.

According to the United Nations World Food Programme and other aid agencies, at least 1,5 million Zimbabweans are in desperate need of food aid.

The country, once seen as Africa’s breadbasket is now widely viewed as a hopeless basket case that imports everything that it consumes — a tragic reality that is blamed squarely on Mugabe’s populist policies and Zanu PF’s chaotic fast-track land reforms.

Tsvangirai also observed ruefully yesterday that even in those few areas where the government was distributing farm inputs around the country, this exercise was being carried out in a partisan manner, with “food being used as a political weapon”.

“It is very worrying and tragic that food is now being used as a political weapon. The fact is that everyone should be looked after by the government because it is its responsibility,” he said.

Amid all this, analysts have also warned that Zimbabwe could be thrown into total chaos this year as the broke government also fails to pay its workers and other dues.

Respected University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political analyst, Eldred Masunungure, also warned that the country’s deteriorating political and economic conditions could also see a new era of rolling mass actions.

He said it was likely that while 2015 was “certainly a nasty year” that many Zimbabweans would like to forget, 2016 was going to be “nastier” as economic and social conditions continued to deteriorate.

“It will probably be worse than the nasty year of 2015 which was bad for most people and which most of us would like to forget. 2016 is definitely likely to be nastier.

“I don’t see any green shoots of recovery. It’s gloomy and most Zimbabweans are despondent,” Masunungure said.

“Asked about the possibility of escalated strikes this year, he said this was “highly likely”.

“That is likely but not inevitable because Zimbabweans have changed.

“In the 1990s, they used to express themselves easily but now the appetite has diminished and I think most Zimbabweans, even if they realise that the government has ignored them, have constructed ways of surviving and the most visible sign of that is the informal sector, which is the gateway for survival.

“As long as there is a way out they will tend to ignore the government’s incompetence because they can live without the State and that tends to dampen the likelihood of strikes,” Masunungure said.

Comments (19)

He is at home where he belongs - in a foreign country. He has spent most of his time in office in the air and in foreign countries. Anosemeswa ne poverty iri munyika yaanotonga. For him to have a breath of clean air he would rather stay in China inspite of the pollution there, rather than face the rot in Zimbabwe. Ndakamunzwa achitaura kuti koizwo zwinyi izwo achireva zwimatangwana zwakavakwa namasuppoters ake somewhere along the airport road. Chakandishamisa ndechokuti anoshandisa road iyi kwemakore asi akazotanga kuona zwitangwena izwi road yaitiwa upgraded. Kana murungu ari foreigner haatswinyi zwakadaro.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 2 January 2016

Tsvangirai tsvangirai ! All you think of is Mugabe Mugabe . When Mugabe is away , there is still a President running the country . You mean to say Mugabe beat you to an extent that everything is about Mugabe . Shame on you . The NGO are already looking for food and all you have in your thick skull is Mugabe must cut short his rest . Zanu has people who hild fort when Mugabe is away unlike MDC-T which believes that only tsvangirai can lead .Give Mugabe a break . Enjoy your holiday President Mugabe .

Hayibo ! - 2 January 2016

Tsvangirai tsvangirai ! All you think of is Mugabe Mugabe . When Mugabe is away , there is still a President running the country . You mean to say Mugabe beat you to an extent that everything is about Mugabe . Shame on you . The NGO are already looking for food and all you have in your thick skull is Mugabe must cut short his rest . Zanu has people who hild fort when Mugabe is away unlike MDC-T which believes that only tsvangirai can lead .Give Mugabe a break . Enjoy your holiday President Mugabe .

Hayibo ! - 2 January 2016

Hayibo, you should understand politics, an acting president is not a president/ therefore they are some issues that an acting pres, can not deal with until the incumbent is in office.you are too foolish to draw the line you bootlicker.. acting pres, can only deal simple issues and some needs the pres, himself,s signatures.

Cheenzyabulaa - 2 January 2016

If mdc could move on from a reactionery,critic party the beter .maybe some like us culd hav some respect.the whole state did not go on holiday wth mugabe family.the 2 vp s r not on holiay besides ministers.even if mugabe cmes back what will he do faced wth empty coffers?this is the chance for tsvangirai ,maybe to do smething if he can,nt to always run to mugabe wen he sees a problem.walk the talk.get those donars n embasadors to donate maize.that way yu will realy show maturity n side wth people.

viola gwena - 3 January 2016

@hayibo, Zimbabwe's VPs are sitting ducks and cannot do anything. If they try and do something they will be accused of trying to create another centre of power and so in the end its safer for them to do nothing and wait for Robert himself.

Inyika - 3 January 2016

Whether he is in the country or not the bottom line is nothing will change hence we need to revive Mugabe must go campaign this is what the country want now . For 36 yrs he has failed and we can not trust him anymore MUGABE MUST GO 2016 CAMPAIGN is the solution .

Diibulaanyika - 3 January 2016

Mugabe must not return from his trip he is a thorn in the flesh for all Zimbabweans. He must be removed from power whilst away

Mentalist - 4 January 2016

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Brian - 4 January 2016

Pamberi na Bob, Mugabe idhara rangu,,,,,,I think this is the time for Tsvangirai to show that he can do it,,, let Tsvangirai do action on the ground tione if he is a man enough .....You will only struct when your enemy is weak,,, provide tangible solutions tione Tsvangirai than mere talking

Ignatius Thomas - 5 January 2016

Morgan is just all talk and nothing else just useless Biti should never allow him to come on board

Chongololo - 5 January 2016

so patrik chinamasa had money to give mugabe and his 50 men entourage to give and live in 5 star hotels in the mid-east for more than 30 days whilst civil servants go unpaid on christmas. This is sheer cruelty from the dictator.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 5 January 2016

Hayibo,should be the definition of boot licker kkkk how i wish i could rewrite the dictionary hey.

sku - 5 January 2016

When it comes to popularity, Tsvangirayi beat Mugabe twice! In 2008 he got majority and result withheld for months whilst Mugabe plotted a rigging scheme. Lest the bootlickers forget.

Gushungo - 6 January 2016

Left vertical ,returning horizontal.

Amai Mandigona - 7 January 2016

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