No one is going to save Zimbabweans but themselves, says Makoni

Villagers gather food Jan. 15 at a distribution point near Harare, Zimbabwe. With poverty on the rise and a drought compounding Zimbabwe's problems, people are struggling to make ends meet and the poor are becoming poorer, church workers said. (CNS photo/Aaron Ufumeli, EPA) See ZIMBABWE-POVERTY-PROBLEMS Jan. 29, 2016.

Simba Makoni (Sm) is regarded as one of the best ministers to preside over Zimbabwe’s Treasury. He then formed his party,

mMvambo/Kusile/Dawn (mKD) which had a good showing in the 2008 presidential elections, controversially won by Mugabe.

Last week, the former Southern African Development Community (Sadc) executive secretary sat down with NewsDay (ND) reporter Cliff Chiduku to give his opinion on the state of affairs in the country.

ND: In 2008, you had a good showing in the presidential election (gaining 8% of the vote) but your party collapsed thereafter, where did things go wrong?

SM: We are continuing our efforts to “get Zimbabwe working again”. I must concede that we have not been as vocal and visible as other political parties, but we are alive and quietly organising, while at the same time feeding our ideas for solving the country’s myriad problems, through other co-operative national engagements.

ND: Speculation had it that you were a Solomon Mujuru proxy, why did you not work with his wife Joice after she was booted out of Zanu-PF in 2014?

SM: Both I, personally, and MKD as an organisation, have been keen to co-operate with other individuals and organisations, who genuinely wish to contribute to solving the country’s problems. I can assure you that, to that end, we continue our efforts to facilitate and contribute to effective cooperation mechanisms. However, it is worth recognising that co-operation takes two or more voluntary participants. You cannot impose it on others.ND: When President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over the presidency via a coup in November 2017, he sold himself as a listening President and a reformist, but events on the ground speak to the contrary. How has the new dispensation fared so far.

SM: There is no difference in the ethos, culture and methods of the so-called new dispensation, compared to before November 2017. People now live in more fear. There is no hesitation to deploy the military in circumstances requiring civilian law enforcement. Abuse and denial of human rights are worse. The economy and social services have deteriorated further.

Poverty, food insecurity, joblessness, homelessness continue to deepen. The nation’s physical infrastructure has all but collapsed. Corruption and plunder of national resources continue unabated. The country is a total pariah. In fact, we are in a mess.

ND: Some former Zanu-PF stalwarts are applying for readmission into the ruling party and you, given a chance, would you consider rejoining the party or government?

SM: No, not at all! The Zanu-PF that liberated the country does not exist anymore. It was replaced a long time ago, by the Zanu-PF of “degrees of violence, greed, corruption, incompetence, human rights abuse, economic collapse, food insecurity, no aspirin and bandages in hospitals, no books and chalk in schools, tichingotonga (while we rule) …” So, there is no Zanu-PF to rejoin.

ND: Any advice to Finance minister Mthuli Ncube?

SM: Maybe he should follow his policy announcements and live his views and visions at the time he was appointed.
ND: Some believe Zimbabwe’s problems are more political than economic?

SM: Yes, the root cause of our problems is politics toxic politics, intolerant politics. All the factors you list above are symptoms with the bigger political problem.

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