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New reforms in Zimbabwe are a people's agenda - Hon. Biti
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
March 08, 2012

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 Morgan Tsvangirai.

"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 media reforms.

"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.

"We can't 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. Biti said.

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 laws.

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.

"Let's stop 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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