Tendai Biti, president of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has warned President Robert Mugabe against creating a family dynasty by imposing Grace, his wife, to succeed him
He was speaking in Harare’s Budiriro suburb during a PDP rally.
“Our simple message to Robert Mugabe is, please go now. This country does not belong to the Mugabe dynasty. Don’t think that your wife (Grace) will rule this country. Don’t think that your children will rule this country,” he said.
There is wide speculation that Mugabe, 92 and facing increasing pressure from within his own party to quit, intends to fix a safe future for his family by making Grace his successor.
In late 2014, Grace was made head of the powerful women’s league but she has repeatedly denied that she was her husband’s position.
Grace, though, has boasted that she is virtually running government, claiming that Mugabe’s deputies take notes from her.
Biti told his supporters that the ruling Zanu PF government had failed as evidenced by a deteriorating economy and a mounting social problems and Mugabe’s establishment needed to be removed.
The country is in a crisis. During the inclusive government when as ministers we worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the people, Zanu PF officials thought it was easy,” he said.
A coalition government bringing together Zanu PF and two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations was set up in early 2009 and lasted until mid-2013 when elections that Mugabe’s party won with a landslide were held.
“But only three years after the 2013 elections, they have failed. Where they were supposed to create two million jobs, they have destroyed two million jobs and this shows that Zanu PF can’t govern this economy,” President Biti said citing the massive closures of industries in Bulawayo and other parts of the country.
“Right now, industries are being turned into churches. In Bulawayo people are praying in factories as companies have closed because of Zanu PF. At least 91 percent of the people are unemployed and spend their time as vendors selling tomatoes, bananas and airtime cards. Girls as young as 16 years are being forced into prostitution because of just one man – Robert Mugabe,” President Biti said.
Biti, the Finance minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU), added that the inability by government to pay civil servants on time indicated a failed leadership.
“Civil servants now have to read newspapers to see when they are going to be paid. When I was the Finance minister, I knew when to pay soldiers on the 11th of each month, teachers on the 19th, war veterans and pensioners on the 29th and bonus in November but Zanu PF is failing to do that,” said Biti.
He said Mugabe was too old to rule yet still clung onto power that he has held for the last 36 years, and condemned the ruling party for using violence against his supporters.
“Only a party without ideas resorts to violence. Only a clueless person resorts to violence. We say to Zanu PF, violence will not work yesterday. It will not work today and it will not work tomorrow. Politics is not about violence but is now about ideas,” he added.