Biti considers life after politics

HARARE – Opposition MDC Renewal leader Tendai Biti appears to be considering life after politics following the expulsion of 21 members of his faction, including himself, from Parliament this week.

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Tendai Biti fighting a losing battle
Tendai Biti

The 21 MPs were expelled at the instance of the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai for crossing the floor from the party on whose ticket they entered Parliament.

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Biti’s faction has indicated that it will challenge the decision in the courts.

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A member of his inner circle confided, though, that Biti will not be heavily involved in the court challenge.

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In an interview at his Milton Park offices in Harare this week, Biti appeared disillusioned with opposition politics and in particular, failure to coalesce to defeat Zanu-PF.

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Clad in a dark grey suit that seemed to reflect his mood, palpable disillusionment ran through the responses of the usually loquacious Biti.

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“I’ve played my part as a Zimbabwean,” he said when challenged over his future.

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“I’ve been in the trenches since my time at the University of Zimbabwe and played my part. I think that it is time that others played their part too, I have played mine.”

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Asked whether that meant retiring from politics, the lawyer said, “I’ve not said that. I’ve just said I have played my part.”

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“The issue of the expulsion of the 21 members of Parliament is a tragedy for democratisation politics in Zimbabwe,” he said.

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“It’s also a tragedy for national politics. It’s unprecedented in any part of the world that democratically elected members of Parliament can be eliminated as we saw on Tuesday.

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“But the country will continue moving on and the challenge is how do we rescue and save our country? Just because 21 MPs were fired I don’t think we suddenly got $40 billion in direct investment in the country. It won’t happen.

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“So nobody except the forces of evil benefited from this. What it means is that unless we’re able to focus on things that put bread on the table we are wasting time.”

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Biti described Tsvangirai as having gone “way past his sell-by date” and surrounded by sycophants. He believes time has come for the transfiguration of national politics.

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“We need to go beyond politics and craft a vision of Zimbabwean-hood because unless we do that, we’re accelerating on auto-pilot to a position of oblivion, a position of nonentity,” he said.

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“Zimbabwe’s politics is dominated by intolerance and by hatred. I shudder to open any newspaper because what you read there is hatred and vitriol and diatribe.

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“But newspapers don’t create this, they’re just a mirror image of the society that they’re from — a reflection of what we have become, a miserable group of going nowhere people stuck in hatred and bitterness. We need to convert these predatory and vicious cycles of exclusion into virtuous circles of inclusivity and that’s the challenge and obligation on this generation.” The Herald