HARARE – Former Finance Minister Dr Simba Makoni revealed that he had confronted President Robert Mugabe and questioned the decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth in a Politburo meeting.
Dr Makoni was addressing Commonwealth Ambassadors at a luncheon in Harare, at a luncheon event to which the ambassador grouping had invited him to hear his thoughts on the current situation in Zimbabwe, the prospects of the Coalition Government and his plans for the future of Zimbabwe.
Makoni started off by saying, "We welcomed the commencement of negotiations between ZANU (PF and MDC, though we believed that a truly national negotiating forum, involving leader from constituencies broader than just politics, was more appropriate. Such a national forum would not only canvas the full range of national concerns, but also provide a firm and sustainable foundation for national re-engagement and reconciliation.
We are happy that accommodation was reached for cooperation within an inclusive government and extend our support to the MDC-PF government."
He then launched into a critique of the government, saying the Global Political Agreement between ZANU PF and the MDC was "not a solid base for relaunch of the country to normalcy."
"There was and still is to much emphasis on "sharing power", hence the result is that we have way too many ministers, with the contest for power continuing over provincial governors, diplomatic postings, permanent secretaries, RBZ governor and Attorney General, amongst many others" he said.
Dr Makoni also said he was worried that mannerisms of ZANU PF are emerging amongst the new MDC ministers, seeing, for instance the issuing of directives and orders to business to slash tariffs and prices.
This, he said, signalled that there was no paradigm shift in the thinking of the new government, which appeared to still want to dictate to the country instead of consulting it.
He called Tendai Biti’s revised budget, STERP (Short Term Economic Recovery Programme) and the so-called 100-day plan, "ill-considered and hurried". The revised budget of the MDC, for instance, he said, was as damaging as ZANU PF’s because it stripped away all provision for infrastructure rehabilitation, leaving only consumptive expenditure – the payment of salaries and perks.
The entire budget, therefore, was simply for recurrent expenditure, whereas what Zimbabwe needed now was the proven route of a "New Deal" of public works to rehabilitate the infrastructure, thereby creating thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of job.
This would have required political will to trim the public service, save money and then channel the saved money towards these sustainable infrastructure projects.
He said he was certain that if this was done, the world would notice that Zimbabwe was using the little revenue it had to kick-start its own development and would be more inclined to help. Right now, though, the world sees that Zimbabwe politicians’ first priority if to fill their own stomachs first.
Makoni highlighted the following:
- Too much emphasis on raising money, without rational and prioritised programmes and plans
- Too many public stunts – stakeholder gatherings, for example, that are without strategic focus
- No evidence yet that a Team is emerging – currently we have just a collection of individuals projecting different messages and priorities (e.g. PM/President over the farm invasions)
- Much talk about inclusion, but reality is that there is limited or no space for other civic or political actors
- Initial indications on the constitution-making and national healing do not signify adequate and substantive inclusion
"For the sake of the people, we genuinely wish the Inclusive government to succeed. Part of the requirement for such success is there continues to be an alternative view and voice to national affairs. In this connection, preparations to transform MKD into a fully-fledged political party are advancing well," he said
Dr Makoni then ended with the following statement of faith:
We believe that in the new Zimbabwe, the following principles should guide our national systems, especially state functions:
- supremacy of the constitution;
- separation of responsibilities of state institutions;
- separation of party and state;
- limitation of terms of office of both party and state officers; and,
- separation of religion and state.
We believe that the country is ready for another force in national politics. One that does not only articulate what we are against, but more so, what we are for. A political force that offers a vision of the future, rather than remain prisoners of the past. A force that recognises and values the past, as a foundation and stepping stone to the future, not as the destination
The country needs a leadership that understands and accepts the strength of diversity in a united nation. A leadership that recognizes that there is more that unites us than divides us, and embraces each one of us into the family of Zimbabwe. A leadership that understands and accepts that our strength, as a country, is assured when we belong to the family of nations; than when we remain in isolation.