Tsvangirai, Biti mend relations

HARARE - Amid Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic rot, which critics blame on President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his erstwhile lieutenant Tendai Biti continue to reach out to each other “in the interest of the country” — as the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections beckon.

It emerged yesterday that Biti, who left the MDC after falling out with Tsvangirai early in 2014, has extended yet another olive branch to his former boss, as opposition parties edge towards forming a united front against Mugabe and Zanu PF — inviting both Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru to his party’s first anniversary celebrations this coming weekend.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume told the Daily News that their party wanted to use its anniversary — to be held under the theme “Together Another Zimbabwe Is Possible” — to further mend bridges with their former colleagues in the MDC.

“The theme is based on the realisation that all political parties need to form a united front to resoundingly defeat the Zanu PF regime in free and fair elections. So, we will be inviting all the opposition leaders, including Tsvangirai and Mujuru.

“We have been co-operating with the MDC on several activities in the past few months and this is just a continuation of that process which we think will lead to a coalition of all Zimbabweans who genuinely are committed to national progress.

“We must build bridges and begin to move in one direction if we are going to overcome the challenges we face collectively as a nation,” Mafume said.

On his part, Tsvangirai welcomed Biti’s invitation, although he will likely miss the event as it clashes with his current medical treatment schedule.

“We wish the party (PDP) well as they turn a year-old. It is unfortunate, that the president will be away to receive treatment when the PDP celebrations are held,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.

Sources within the PDP also told the Daily News a few weeks ago that leading lights within the MDC off-shoot had now come to accept that the quest for democratic change in the country was unlikely to “go anywhere” without Tsvangirai and the MDC being key players in the process.

“This is simple political pragmatism, borne out of the realisation that notwithstanding any differences that people may have, Tsvangirai is an important player in Zimbabwe’s democratisation project. After all, (President Robert) Mugabe and Zanu PF are the sole authors of Zimbabwe’s problems, and not Tsvangirai.

“Indeed, you will also know that for quite some time now, our party has taken a decision that it will no longer bad-mouth Tsvangirai and the MDC, but focus our guns on the real authors of our country’s pain and anarchy, Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“While I can’t speak for the party, and depending on how Tsvangirai and other players move, all this could be the basis for the mooted grand coalition of opposition forces against Mugabe,” one of the PDP sources said then.

As if to confirm the PDP bigwig’s sentiments, Tsvangirai and Biti ganged up against Mugabe at the time, as their parties released a joint statement calling on international financial institutions to hang back on doling out aid to the Zanu PF government, until fundamental electoral reforms were in place.

In the statement issued via the MDC’s and PDP’s respective finance secretaries Tapiwa Mashakada and Vince Musewe, the parties expressed grave reservations about the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) “agenda to re-engage and assist what to us is essentially a rogue regime whose time to go has come”.

The statement came as the broke Zimbabwean government was making frantic efforts to re-engage international lenders in a desperate bid to stem the country’s accelerating economic collapse.

“There is no doubt that the only viable solution for Zimbabwe is for Mugabe to go and the replacement of his looting machinery with a new team that will take our country forward.

“There is no other alternative to that and yet it seems to us that ‘stability’ as opposed to substantive political change is more important to the IMF and its Western backers. We do not agree with that paradigm,” the MDC and PDP protested.

During the era of the stability-inducing government of national unity, Tsvangirai was prime minister and Biti was minister of Finance — with the duo spearheading the process of re-engagement with the IMF, which resulted in the country’s ongoing “Staff-Monitored Programme”.

But since the GNU ended after Zanu PF won the hotly-disputed and controversial 2013 national elections, the Zimbabwe economy has collapsed spectacularly, even as Mugabe’s administration has continued with negotiations with the IMF.

“Unfortunately, the pursuit of appeasement and not confrontation of the dictator continues to fuel some false hope in the minds of this regime that everything is going to be okay, even when it is evident that it is time for fundamental political and leadership change in Zimbabwe if we are to see any economic revival.

“Zimbabwe is bankrupt and is unable to meet its day-to-day needs and is therefore a failed State, thanks to Mugabe and his coterie of praise singers. Only substantive political and economic reforms can save Zimbabwe,” the MDC and PDP said.

The “false hope” that the West was giving to Mugabe, they added, had resulted in the government contemplating the issuance of a “pseudo and proxy currency termed bond notes” as a means to escape the urgency of implementing substantive economic reforms” as promised to the IMF last year.

“Almost nine months later, no reforms are in place and we have actually seen an increase in corruption, confusion and bungling within the financial services sector which has now run out of cash, continued occupation of agricultural properties, corrupt infrastructure development deals with inflated costs to fund the Zanu PF looting machinery, the continued collapsing of small companies due to non-viability, declining productivity and export earnings and lack of new capital investment inflows.

“On the political front, we have seen activists getting arrested without cause and the deliberate subversion of the will of the people by interfering in the management of city councils. We have also seen a deliberate dithering to align our laws with the new Constitution. That is unacceptable,” the two parties said.

They added that there was a crisis of leadership in the country and that far from being stable, the status quo reflected paralysis and regression, with Mugabe “seeking to buy time through empty promises and postponing the inevitable”.

Delivering his end of year address last December, Tsvangirai also promised Zimbabweans “a Christmas gift” of unity among all opposition parties.

The former prime minister in the government of national unity said the envisaged “unity gift” would include former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) and the PDP, all in a bid to end Mugabe’s 36-year hold on power and the country’s myriad crises.

“Zimbabweans want to see unity of purpose and I can assure you that a broader, collective agenda will soon be unveiled to the nation by the relevant people after the relevant consultations,” Tsvangirai said.

He added that Zanu PF had failed to resolve the problems that it had created, as it was swamped by its factional and succession wars that had plunged the party into a crisis, and with the “supposed mega deals” that the government had recently signed achieving nothing.

“As political leaders, we know what Zimbabweans want and expect in the wake of a party in government so out of sorts that the fixation with succession issues and positions have taken centre-stage at the expense of a despondent people.

“Together, we are stronger. Together, we are better. We resolved at our last congress that we will work with others in the broader democratic movement to deal with the national challenges,” he said.

He further blamed all the challenges facing Zimbabwe on the “crisis of legitimacy” surrounding the disputed 2013 national elections, saying only electoral reforms would bring back confidence in the country.

Comments (23)

Headline is deceptive. Mr Biti party said they will be inviting ALL opposition leaders to their anniversary celebrations, including Mr Tsvangirai and Mrs Mujuru.

Galore - 6 September 2016

their mending of fences is a non event,both have been rejected by the electorate,both are not in good health,both have nothing to offer the masses ,both view the west as their saviours,the sooner both realise that the revolutionary party is here to stay the better

truth - 6 September 2016

Leadership vaccuum is also very glaring in opposition as it is in zanupf.The circus I see in parly ,these politicians are partners in crime.joined by the hip.cant say which is beter,zanu or mdc.

viola gwena - 6 September 2016

child playy . Just like we used to do when were still kids. we are friends when i have a ball. you sub me from the game, i take my ball and go home and its game over. Biti is seeking relevance but it wont be long before Tsvangirai feels threatened and will withdraw his ball and it will be back to square one

El chapo GUNZMAN. - 7 September 2016

@ truths or falsehoods, you never cease to amaze with your whaffling comments. You just vomit that opposition has nothing to offer without telling us what the current government is offering. If you have nothing to say just shut your smelly mouth and enjoy the loot. If the government that you are supporting has been offering what people want , then there will be no current demonstrations, no hostilities, companies would be running well, no looting in government and parastatals, agriculture booming, ZUPCO on its wheels, NRZ on the railway line, Air Zimbabwe on its wings, hospitals attending ministers and their kids, universities not churning out graduate vendors, minerals revenue well accounted for, those getting fraudulent ZESA tenders being tried and thrown in jail. There will be no sanction sanction sanction mantra. Zimbabweans would be united irrespective of their political differences.

Viona Ngwena - 7 September 2016

@viona ngwena,your views cannot go unchallenged,as we speak the country is under sanctions thats if yu know what ZIDERA is,the europeans at the istigation of the british also sanctioned us,that led to a collapse of the economy and all the things yu pointed out,yu @viona know for a fact that things would be different in this country had the western powers not sanctioned us,i would be producing more at my farms as i would have access to funding that would allow me to purchase the lastest farming equipment and technologies thats increasing production,and i would employ your mdc youths who are milling around,their future bleak because sanctions were slapped on the country at the behest of their leader tsvangison

truth - 7 September 2016

We only have two opposition political parties in Zimbabwe. ZPF and MDC-T. The rest are not worth mentioning because they don't have any significance towards putting enough pressure to Zanu PF.

madamburo - 7 September 2016

@truth, you distort the truth. The sanctions you talk about are not in any way whatsoever directed at the whole country but simply a few selected individuals? Also bear in mind that both the AU and SADC have always supported President Mugabe and have not in any way enforced any form of sanctions against individuals or anyone else. Mugabe and his style or rule, not sanctions, is to blame for the horrendous state we now find ourselves in. Get real you silly fool.

Mbewa - 7 September 2016

@ truth , i still do not agree with you. SANCTIONS, what. Zimbabwe is a blessed country with so many natural resources and hard working people. Why not use land productively to bust the sanctions, why not arrest those looting state funds, why keeping ghost workers, why not following proper tender proceedures, why blame game. Let us fix the mess and move the nation forward. We cant have a few people looting and then blaming sanctions. With sanctions in place we will not be having US / EU, UK FRANCE, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIAN embassies, and similarly we will not be having missions in these countries. Check statistics right now, USA remains Zimbabwes' biggest donor right now. EU follows. with santions we will not be having this. While I do not support any form of sanctions, I am saying us, what are we doing to do good for Zimbabweans, always denying. Thus why the rift between the ruling party and opposition is becoming wide, its indeed dividing Zimbabweans. Because there is selfishness, greedy, looting, cruelty. The moment Zimbabweans learn to share and work together the day we will see the source of our problems.

Viona Ngwena - 7 September 2016

@viona ngwena,what is ZIDERA?was it repealed or not?

jojo - 7 September 2016

@mbewa,what is ZIDERA?

jojo - 7 September 2016

Sanctions are real.Zimbank is not allowed to recieve a coin from outside Africa.Zimbank was supposed to finance agri and mining.Gorvenment put all asserts ,like shabani mine ,diamonds mines ,sme parrastatals ,all under Zimbank to act as security for international financiers who wanted to finance farming.All went down bcoz Zimbank was put under sanctions,Zidera.Zimbank cannot recieve finance.That killed farming bearng in mind most black farmers dont have funds or title deeds.Bt still government was supposed to counter that,find the money n finance farmers.Mining (diamonds)did bring in money which could have gone into farming.

viola gwena - 7 September 2016

There realy is no argument on sanctions.They are real.I remember one prominent white businessman who had borrowed $5m to finance his local units,when he returned the loan thru his bank that money was intercepted by US and impounded.His workers he had to dismis.Mr Brekenberk is on sanctions list.Those pple on sanctions list are business pple,regardless and crippling their operations thru sanctioning them.But again ,government shuld counter sanctions.not cry.They must be holistic in running the economy bt time is wasted on factions,fronted by moyo.

viola gwena - 7 September 2016

Viola Ngwena, USA is not a little silly boy who goes around opening other kids lunch boxes and helping himself. You are fabricating Mr Brekenberk farm loan story. I cant see how the US comes in where one local bank assist local farmers. Please get your facts right as this is not a school magazine.

Ian Smith - 7 September 2016

So who took his money?Yu must then ilaborate who took his money.The poor old man is facing jail now.Zidera is a creation of the US congress.Whats yo issue here.

viola gwena - 7 September 2016

Viola ,the name is Bredenkemp and yes his $5m repayment loan as intercepted by US treasury bcoz of zidera.Ian Smith check yo facts.google the story man.

johanes - 8 September 2016

@viona ngwena. Yu inputs are average compared to the real viola gwena.plse stop pushing yoself to her level n be original.

hunda - 8 September 2016

Kkkk. Iwe Choga ko kukudzwa kwenhengo dzanababa kwabvepi apa ita serious.

Professor - 8 September 2016

At the moment, we should have one opposition party until we gain independence from the thieving old men and women in Zanu. Welshman Ncube, Arthur Mutambara, Simba Makoni, Dumiso Dabengwa, Margaret Dongo, Themba Mliswa and all those who thought they had gained enough popularity by associating with Morgan Tsvangirai should swallow their pride and join him now. Now is not time to play foolish games but to remove Mugabe at all costs then they can go ahead and form separate parties after liberation.

Mr Dete - 11 September 2016

It is a fact that there are no sanctions against the country but against individuals. This is why they are called TARGETED sanctions.

Seedman Mtamandeni - 11 September 2016

sanctions are really,let us not deceive each other.why is it there has not been any financial bailout for almost two decades to Zimbabwe?.

vivazim - 13 September 2016

sanctions are really,let us not deceive each other.why is it there has not been any financial bailout for almost two decades to Zimbabwe?.

vivazim - 13 September 2016

sanctions are really,let us not deceive each other.why is it there has not been any financial bailout for almost two decades to Zimbabwe?.

vivazim - 13 September 2016

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