By Costa Nkomo
MDC Vice President Tendai Biti has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of running down the country’s economy through dictatorship and corruption resulting in Zimbabweans’ living standards plunging to levels experienced in 1923.
The opposition politician was speaking Saturday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where he was the guest of honour at the national congress of the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT), the main opposition party in that country.
Biti told ACT members that it was of great concern that the depth of poverty in Zimbabwe had reached levels that were unheard of.
“When I slept in my hotel room last night, I could not sleep because there was electricity. Because for six months in my country, I haven’t had electricity. For six months in my country, I wash from a bucket because there is no water,” Biti told his hosts.
“So I am not different from my great grandmother who died in 1923. The only difference is that I put on longer dresses than her. But in terms of poverty, Mr Mnangagwa and Zanu PF have taken us to depths that are unheard of.”
Biti was wearing a white Arab robe.
The ex-minister said in November 2017, when the military staged a coup that toppled then President Robert Mugabe, the nation celebrated and thought a new era had been ushered into the country.
“Little did we know that we were jumping from the pot into the fire. Two years later, Zimbabwe finds itself in the clutches of an illiterate, dysfunctional dictatorship, presided over by a colourless, talent-less man known as Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. His middle name Dambudzo means trouble. Never call your son Trouble. As I speak to you right now, 95% of Zimbabweans are unemployed.”
The outspoken politician also took a swipe at former liberation movements in the SADC region that were still in power describing them as “tired and exhausted” organisations which were intolerant and dictatorial.
“Why is it that beyond the mantra ‘one man, one vote’, why beyond the mantra of independence, nationalism can’t deliver? And when it can’t deliver, this nationalism becomes exhausted, becomes tired.
“This nationalism starts eating the nation. It starts eating the nation’s money due to corruption. Tired and exhausted nationalism has become to be associated with corruption, patronage. They steal these people. They are archbishops of stealing. They are deacons of corruption.
“In Zimbabwe, I chair the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament. I have never seen such levels of corruption, such levels of looting. But they don’t just eat money and State privilege alone. They also start to eat the citizen, vandalise the citizen and arrest the citizen. What is the crime of the citizen? The crime of the citizen is willing to say ‘No, we are entitled to a different group of choice of men and women. Democracy,” said Biti.
Biti urged ACT members to be resilient and resistant in their fight for democracy.
“I urge resilience, I urge resistance. The struggle to remove the black dictator is tougher than the struggle to remove the white dictator. The black dictator is heartless, he is a murderer. So the struggle to remove black dictatorship is not a sprint, it is a marathon.”
Tanzania holds its national elections in October this year.