MUTARE - Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister and a top MDC official says President Mugabe has now become too old to continue ruling the country in an effective manner.
Biti, the MDC secretary general, told about four hundred people at Dangamvura Grounds, that Zimbabwe now urgently needed younger politicians like Morgan Tsvangirai to effectively tackle the problems facing the country.
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, is the country’s Prime Minister under the inclusive government negotiated to end a political stalemate caused by a flawed presidential run off held last year on June 27.
“The major problem is that our country is being led by very elderly people,” Biti said amid applause. “We now need wheelchairs in Cabinet because a lot of too old.”
He was speaking during election victory celebrations held by Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency. Mutsekwa is the home affairs minister together with Kembo Mohadi of Zanu PF.
Biti said it was disappointing when leaders hang on to power despite their very advanced ages. He said if civil servants were forced to retire when they reach 60 years it was imperative for political leaders to also emulate that.
He said President Mugabe and his geriatric lieutenants should move now move aside because of old age and allow Tsvangirai, who is relatively younger and raring to go, to take over.
“Chipai Save wachirikutemwa dzinobuda ropa kuti watonge,” he said, meaning to say: “Give Save a chance who still has the energy to take over.” Tsvangirai is commonly referred to as Save, his totem, in MDC circles.
President Mugabe, now 85, still wants to cling on to power after enjoying close to a decade of unfettered rule which has culminated in the collapse of a country once marveled as the breadbasket of southern Africa.
Biti said it was disheartening when leaders die whilst in office instead of retiring and resting from the hectic political offices.
This was seen as a veiled reference to Joseph Msika, the country’s vice president, who died last week at the age of 87.
Biti said Tsvangirai can not effectively solve the country’s problems as long as “they are two drivers on the stirring wheel”.
Biti said the MDC entered into the power sharing deal with its sworn political nemesis so as to extricate the country from a 10-year unprecedented economic and political crisis.
Biti said the MDC was committed to have a liberalized media in Zimbabwe and bring international news organizations such as CNN, BBC and Sky News into the country.
He said they were also committed to ensure the country goes through a proper national healing process to unite the people divided for almost a decade because of the political rivarly between the two major political parties.
Biti attacked the country’s justice system saying it was being selectively applied to victimize MDC legislators.
He queried why eight MDC Members of Parliament have been arrested and promptly convicted of various criminal offences when at the same time no Zanu PF MP was facing the same treatment.
“The justice system has become effective when it comes to convicting MDC MPs but Joseph Mwale is a free man,” he said.
Joseph Mwale, the reclusive Central Intelligence Organisation operative, continue to be a free man despite calls by the High Court to have him arrested for the gruesome murder of two MDC activists, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya at Murambinda Growth Point, Buhera in 2000.