Former Finance minister and People’s Democratic Party leader (PDP), Tendai Biti has said most youth in the country now think it is now normal to be vendors on the streets and to see dilapidated infrastructure at companies such as National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
BY SILAS NKALA
Addressing PDP supporters during Africa Day celebrations in Bulawayo on Thursday, Biti accused President Robert Mugabe of destroying a once-vibrant economy.
He accused Mugabe of plotting to have his wife, Grace, succeed him as President.
“There is a headmaster of dictators. Bishop, papa, Pope of dictators, and he is this old man called Robert Mugabe. He inherited the country when it was the jewel of Africa, the country has turned into a torn pair of trousers,” Biti said.
“People have no jobs, companies are closing, there is no money. This is a country with the largest constituency of lodgers 37 years after independence, they are still called mukomana wekuseri (lodgers).”
He said 37 years after independence, many homes still had no electricity, while 63% of the population use the bush as toilets.
“There is a third generation, which has never been employed and do not know what a payslip is. They think this is normal to sell cigarettes, to sell tomatoes. No, it’s not normal,” Biti said.
He said companies such as NRZ, which used to be engines of economic growth in the country, now had overgrown grass with no meaningful activity taking place there.
“They (youth) think it’s normal that when you go to company premises, you find churches holding services there,” Biti said.
“This is normal to Mugabe and his Zanu PF. What we want to tell you is that another Zimbabwe is possible. All Zimbabweans have the right to enjoy the benefits of independence. What is wrong for one to go to work and get paid? Most of us now think dealing, violence and crime are the only ways to survive.”
He said Zanu PF had taught people to survive on deals, most of them illegal.
Biti said economic revival could not be addressed through clandestine deals.
“The country’s economy must be brought to life through foreign direct investment. We cannot solve the economic problems through the so-called command this command that. Foreign direct investment cannot be achieved when there is a wrong team. PDP will build this economy at the rate of 7% per annum. In our manifesto we will emphasise on that,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa said people were suffering more than they were under the colonial regime.
Dabengwa challenged people, who feel the pain and suffering under this government to come out in numbers to register to vote in 2018, saying staying at home would mean Zanu PF ruling the country forever.