Biti piles misery on Mnangagwa

 Biti piles misery on Mnangagwa
Published: 22 August 2019 (229 Views)
MDC vice president Tendai Biti has called upon international institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to extend any financial bailout to Harare unless the country forms a transitional authority. This is on the backdrop of a clampdown on civil activities by Harare and also a blanket ban on planned MDC dem- onstrations by the police who also violently dispersed ad hoc protests in the capital last week.

Western countries on Tuesday cranked up the heat on Harare to respect the Constitu- tion an indictment that angered government and saw relations — that were almost on a mend — further strain.

Writing in the influential Foreign Policy magazine, Biti said the world should not be hoodwinked by President Em- merson Mnangagwa's govern- ment facade that he is committed to observing the rule of law, democracy and its tenets.

Regional bloc Sadc has al- ready thrown its weight behind Mnangagwa and last week took a firm stand in condemning sanctions that were imposed on the country by the United States of America.

Sadc member States, went a step further and declared Oc- tober 25 an anti-sanctions day while at the same time ignoring the calls by the MDC for the region to reproach Harare on its clampdown on civil society and opposition party activities

"To attract foreign invest- ment, Zimbabwe needs to show that it respects the rule of law, including by strengthening property rights and guarantee- ing that profits can be repatri- ated outside Zimbabwe.

"The current government cannot be trusted to undertake such a programme.

"That is because Zanu-PF stands to lose from serious reforms, since they would inevitably eliminate the party's traditional sources of finance, patronage and control.

"A transitional government arrangement, akin to the unity government of 2009–13, has to lead the reform effort.

"To bring one about, the IMF and other major multilat- eral organisations should offer Zanu-PF incentives to come to the negotiating table — not re- ward it prematurely as the IMF did with the staff-monitored programme.

"Zimbabwe needs help from its international partners, as well as from neighbouring countries and regional blocs, to stave of total economic col- lapse.

"First, however, it needs to get its own politics right," said Biti.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, who has introduced a series of austerity measures that include fuel levies and also hikes in taxes — although largely unpopular at home be- cause of his policies that have hit the population hard appears to have strummed the right chords with the IMF which could provide a financial relief to Harare or debt cancellation before end of the year.

But Biti said organisations like the IMF should not buy Zanu-PF's government so- called reform agenda including the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TPS).

Biti, a former Finance minister during the inclusive government era between 2009 and 2013, also pointed to en- demic corruption in Mnangag- wa's government as one of the causes of the country's woes.

"Corruption is both a cause and a consequence of Zimba- bwe's economic difficulties, and no reform programme can succeed without tackling it.

"The ruling party and the military still dominate Zimba- bwe's economy, as do vested interests connected to both.

"Profiteering and rent- seeking on virtually everything with a price tag, from commod- ity exports to petrol imports, define the country's economic life.

"Foreign exchange, fuel, minerals (particularly dia- monds, platinum, and chrome), and agriculture have all become citadels of arbitrage and loot.

"To begin to change all this, the government must liberalise the market and eliminate the need for import permits, which for years have been used to re- ward party loyalists," said Biti.

- dailynews

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