Opposition political parties have warned President
Robert Mugabe against his typical populist, political rhetoric approach
following his mooted fresh farm invasion exercise to satisfy war
veterans’ demands amid a disastrous fast track land policy that turned
Zimbabwe into a basket case.
Recently, Mugabe admitted that the country was importing maize from Zambia, due to its excess reserves after it allocated land to former Zimbabwe white commercial farmers that were violently kicked out of their farms.
Addressing war veterans at a crunch meeting held at the City Sports Centre in Harare on Thursday, Mugabe promised the ex-combatants more land.
However, Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said Mugabe’s communist approach was disastrous and will not help deal with the impending implosion within the governing party.
“Any attempt to rob John to pay Paul will plunge the country into serious chaos,” Chihwayi said.
He said Mugabe’s Zanu PF government was perennially bankrupt and could not be able to revive the agriculture system that has failed to keep the country’s food reserves afloat. Zimbabwe, which was once the bread basket of Southern Africa, is reeling in an El Nino-induced drought that has left at least four million people in dire need of food, with Masvingo and Buhera being the most affected.
Amid this knelling hunger, the country’s economy has been struggling for over a decade, with government failing to raise its employees’ salaries on time.
“The Zimbabwean economy is dysfunctional and regime change is the only way to go. The communist fundraising initiatives proposed by… Mugabe will not work and will block Foreign Direct Investments. The harmful threats and proposed strategies will in the absence of a sound human rights record, productivity and exports bury Zimbabwe,” Chihwayi said.
However, during his address to the war veterans, Mugabe said there was nothing that would stop war veterans from getting more land from the few remaining white farmers.
“Mune zvichemo zvekuti tinoda kubatsirwa kuti tivewo nemacompanies atinawo. Handifungi kuti zvinonetsa izvo. Kana muchiti tinoda kuti tive ne20 percent or 30 percent kumining. Munenge muchirevei? Ndanga ndichiti kuna VaSekeramayi ko vari kureva chii? Kuti tipihwe 20 percent. Ko mukapuhwa 20 percent or 30 percent ko 70 percent or 80 percent inogonge iri yaani?
Nyika yeseka ndeyenyu … hatingashayi nzvimbo nekuti achiripo mabhunu atinokwanisa kubisa mumapurazi (you have grievances that need to be addressed, including the need to have your own companies. I do not think that is a problem. If you demand 20 or 30 percent in the mining sector, what do you mean? I asked (Defence minister Sydney) Sekeramayi on what you mean by demanding 20 or 30 percent, so who is meant for the other 70 or 80 percent. The whole country belongs to you…we still have white farmers that we can remove from farms),” Mugabe said.
Commenting on Mugabe’s proposal, Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the current Zanu PF government does not have the capacity to help local farmers to be self-sufficient, because of lack of funds.
He also warned Mugabe’s government against taking the path of conducting fresh farm invasions.
“…land will remain a dead asset if the people who were allocated this natural resource do not have the relevant farming skills as well as the inputs to enable them to become productive commercial farmers. Commercial farming is a serious business venture. Not everyone can succeed as a commercial farmer,” Gutu said.
Commenting on the outcome of Mugabe’s meeting with the war veterans, Gutu said the indaba did not yield any meaningful results.
“With due respect to the war veterans, they were sold a dummy by … Mugabe. To start with, the Zanu PF regime is bankrupt and it doesn’t have the money to meet any of the war veterans’ financial demands,” Gutu said.
He added, “The indaba was much ado about nothing, really. It would appear that the war veterans were outmanoeuvred and outsmarted by…Mugabe. The war veterans presented a litany of demands that cannot be sustained by Zimbabwe’s collapsed economy.
“For now, the war veterans will have to accept that whatever Mugabe wants is what will happen. Up until such a time that the war veterans are bold enough to openly call upon…Mugabe to step down on account of his advanced age and failure to stop the hemorrhaging of the national economy, the status quo ante shall prevail,” he said.
Zapu spokesperson Mnjobisa Noko said Mugabe was simply using his populist agenda to lure war veterans to his side and use them to push a personal motive to remain in power, through making unfeasible promises.
“And now he (Mugabe) wants to cling to power using the war veterans. He wants to meet them every year, what has changed? As he said yesterday ‘go down to the structures and mobilise people’ to keep him in power,” Noko said.
Noko said Thursday’s meeting was a non-event.
“…because the issues that were raised have been outstanding for the last 36 years, and there had never been any commitment from Mugabe.”
The Zapu spokesperson said Mugabe’s populist policies, including claims that he would he would divert the little government funds to the welfare of war veterans were akin to giving sweets to a child.
“Those are no promises…what he was trying to do is kudzimura moto (fire-fighting) because there has been a crisis. We will also not be cowed by his statements towards (Zapu leader Dumiso) Dabengwa,” Noko said.