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New reforms in Zimbabwe are a people's agenda - Hon. Biti
for Democratic Change (MDC)
The call for reforms before the holding of the next elections is
not an MDC agenda but the agenda of the people of Zimbabwe who do
not want a farce election like what was experienced in 2008, Hon.
Tendai Biti, the MDC Secretary General has said.
Addressing a packed conference
room at a Harare hotel last night during a Zimbabwe Lecture Series
on whether the country was ready for the next elections, Hon. Biti
said the next election should be a formula to find a lasting solution
to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Zanu PF has
been calling for elections even without a new Constitution and critical
reforms, a call which is against SADC and the AU who are the guarantors
of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).
"The call for reforms
is not new in Zimbabwe. When Zimbabwe went for elections in 1980,
there was a new Lancaster Constitution which was signed in 1979
in London, those were reforms" said Hon. Biti.
He said some Zanu PF
politicians are distorting the reality about elections by lying
to Robert Mugabe if they go for elections the President will beat
"How can someone
seriously think about investing in a presidential candidate who
is 88 years old?" asked Hon. Biti.
He said in 2008,
President Tsvangirai won
the election but there were problems in the transfer of power
as separate structures were running the elections.
"As a result, the
people of Zimbabwe do not want an election that will create another
unsustainable Zimbabwe. Zanu PF was benefiting from this unsustainable
environment as they know that they will not win free and fair elections,"
said Hon. Biti.
He said since
the formation of the inclusive
government in 2009, the MDC in government has done a lot.
"We now have functional
public institutions which had collapsed during Zanu PF's rule
and Zanu PF is trying to destroy that by making the next elections
ungovernable," he said.
Hon. Biti said despite
misguided calls for elections by Zanu PF, the MDC and Zanu PF negotiators
were negotiating on a roadmap to holding free and fair elections.
Among other issues, the
roadmap will include having a new people-driven Constitution which
will allow dual citizenship, limited terms of the president, devolution
and a strong Bill of Rights.
Other changes being negotiated
are; having a new Electoral Act, legislative, security sector and
"There is nothing
wrong with the regime change agenda as we will beat Zanu PF at the
ballot box. When the Smith regime was removed in 1980, it was regime
change and there was nothing wrong with that," he said.
allow another Robert Mugabe to emerge and we will not allow Zanu
PF to abuse us like what they did in the past 31 years," Hon.
He said Mugabe could
go ahead with his calls of pulling out Zanu PF from the inclusive
government but the MDC would continue attending Cabinet and making
Hon. Biti dismissed Zanu
PF's calls for empowerment as nothing but another attempt
by Zanu PF to kill the country's economy.
"There is no need
for one to takeover a commercial bank. If you want a bank come to
me as the Minister of Finance and Gideon Gono and we will give you
the licence to start a bank," said Hon. Biti.
Speaking at the same
event, academic and political analyst, Dr Ibbo Mandaza said Zanu
PF calls for elections were futile.
the election talk as it does not help us. We have the GPA which
the SADC region has a stake in. There will be no elections in Zimbabwe
until the reforms have been done," he said.
He said the Zanu PF panellist
present at the discussion; Goodson Mguni's views were that
of a minority while what Hon. Biti has were the views of the majority
of the people of Zimbabwe.
"At the moment
we should focus on improving the operations of the inclusive government,
service delivery and restore national institutions. In the past
when I was in government, we had no army officers speaking on political
issues - it was treasonous.
"Our national issues
have been subverted. No one in the security sector retires now.
The priority is not elections but to restore the economy and be
proud like any other nation," he said, applauding Hon. Biti
for doing a great job in restoring the country's economy which
had collapsed since he became the Minister of Finance in 2009.
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