MDC leader Welshman Ncube has warned against “protest voting” at the next elections saying its worst effects are evident in Bulawayo where the cash-strapped city council borrowed US$5 million to buy luxury cars for senior officials.
Kingdom Bank has begun proceedings to seize the city’s most recognisable landmarks including the Large City Hall and Tower Block after the local authority failed to repay the loan. The council used the buildings as collateral for the loan.
Speaking to supporters during a rally at Sizinda in Bulawayo, Ncube said financial problems facing the MDC-T-run council illustrated the dangers of protest voting.
"The question is: who do we try now because there are a number of them you have tried and they have failed. You voted for them but now they went and borrowed $5 million as loans, which they are now failing to pay back and now want to sell Bulawayo,” Ncube said Sunday.
"Would you say that is an alternative government? You cannot experiment with such people simply because you hate Robert Mugabe. This is like somebody who is drowning and sees a serpent and asks it to save him when there are alternatives, and we are that alternative."
Zimbabwe is battling to shake off a decade-long political and economic crisis which forced millions of people to stream across the country’s borders in search of a better life. Ncube blamed the country’s problems on leadership failure.
"Zimbabwe is the richest country in the world. Our mineral deposits like platinum and diamonds contribute about 25 percent of the world's deposits, we are second to South Africa in terms of gold deposits, we have the best land, vegetation and education. Manje kuswelakani? (So, what are we missing?).
"We have everything needed to succeed but we do not have leadership. The failure of Zimbabwe is failure of leadership. We have no leadership to lead us to build the country.”
Ncube’s MDC which fared badly at the last elections, has been criss-crossing Matabeleland in a bid to improve on its 10 parliamentary seats and six senatorial seats won in 2008.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T won sweeping majorities in Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo. But Ncube says the MDC-T is now tainted by corruption and is ready for the taking.
A coalition government in 2009 eased tension in the country, resulting in the country’s economy beginning a slow but tenuous recovery from the hyperinflationary mayhem of the last decade. But the government has been torn by bitter policy differences between Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC.
Both Zanu PF and the MDC formations agree new elections are needed to choose a substantive administration but cannot agree on the timing of the ballot. President Robert Mugabe wants the poll held this year but his rivals insist political reforms must be completed first.