'Zimbabweans rely too much on God because they've no money' – Chiyangwa

HARARE, – Business mogul Phillip Chiyangwa says he will never leave Zanu (PF) despite the fact that he was once tortured and terrorised by the former ruling party goons.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Vop Chiyangwa declared: "I support President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF). That is why I have a problem with some of the newspapers which write negative stories about the President. You can not rule me out as far as advertising is concerned.  They will come to me sooner than later ," boasted the controversial business tycoon.

Chiyangwa said he was currently doing "very well" and did not see why he should apply for a job as a Cabinet Minister.

"I have money," he said. "If you do not have money right now then you are joking about yourself."

Chiyangwa said Zimbabweans relied too much on prayers to God because they did not have money to take care of themselves. The business mogul said indigenisation was here to stay and nobody will stop it.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party said Zimbabwe will go ahead with a general election next year – with or without the constitutional reform seen by many as essential to a free and fair vote.

Mugabe, who was forced into a unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change after the disputed 2008 poll, sees no need to extend the life of the coalition.

He wants a referendum on a new constitution early next year and a general election by mid-year, even if the referendum is not held. The poll was to have been held in 2013.

The next election will be Zimbabwe’s eighth big poll since 2000.

Critics said a hasty election without political reform, including a new constitution guaranteeing basic rights, would favour only Mugabe and his Zanu-PF, in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told state media that Wednesday’s meeting of the party’s politburo (inner cabinet), chaired by Mugabe, endorsed his drive for early elections and received a report suggesting that international donors were withholding cash to delay the last stages of constitutional reform.

Tsvangirai’s MDC is trying to mobilise regional pressure on Mugabe to deliver outstanding reforms under the power-sharing agreement, and Arthur Mutambara’s small MDC faction says Zimbabwe must continue with a coalition government for at least two more years to complete reform and achieve economic recovery.

On Tuesday, the British high commissioner in Zimbabwe, Mark Canning, said the political climate in Zimbabwe was not conducive to a free and fair general election. The country needed time to work on political reform, including repealing repressive laws, opening up the media, new electoral laws and voter registration, Canning said.

Gumbo said Zanu-PF was discussing how to overcome what it calls illegal sanctions imposed on the party by Western powers. It is set to endorse Mugabe, 86, as its presidential candidate at a conference next month.