Zimbabwe Moving In The Right Direction – Tsvangirai

Addressing The Economist magazine organised Zimbabwe economic summit in Johannesburg, Tsvangirai said the Government of National Unity (GNU), which turned two years on Wednesday had provided opportunities and an impetus for economic growth.

“We chose progress over violence, polarisation, decline and decay. Zimbabwe is moving forward. From the darkness of madness and self-destruction, to the new dawn of a New Zimbabwe,” said Tsvangirai in his key note address.

“This progress is tangible. Yes, it is slow.  But it is there.”

He went on to cite few examples of this economic turn around, singling out the return of health workers  and availability of medicines in hospitals, teachers and books in  school, food in supermarkets and granaries as well as water, fuel, stable currency and a single digit

He however added that at the back of these gains the failed policies of the past government led by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party continued to haunt the country.

“Disdain for the rule of law and property rights continue to undermine our image as a safe investment destination,” said Tsvangirai.

Turning onto the proposed controversial Indigenisation Act, Tsvangirai, said his government will do all it can to pull all stops to plug the possible abuse of the law aimed at empowering ordinary citizens.

“The Indigenization Regulations were introduced as a policy to replicate the looting and chaos we saw on our farms. An erstwhile, noble land reform programme supported by all progressive Zimbabweans, was turned into a circus. Since January we have done a lot to ensure that these regulations are not an avenue to expropriation and we have sought to make them more palatable to our citizens and the investing public,” said Tsvangirai.

In addition, Tsvangirai said government has put in place Sectoral Committees which are looking into the sectoral minimum thresholds to deal with the fears and concerns raised by both local and foreign investors.

“We will not rest until we have ensured that these regulations represent true, broad-based empowerment for our people and our nation – in partnership with like-minded investors of any colour, creed or nationality,” said Tsvangirai.

He said although he was happy with the progress made in meeting the Kimberly Process regulations regularising diamond mining at Marange diamonds fields, which are a subject of controversial discussions over the alleged death of thousands of people when the army moved in to stop illegal mining in 2008.

“Government put in place security to clear the people who were scrapping the surface. We want a transparent process and the initial sale processes has gone to the fiscus but there is a lot that needs to be done to fulfill the Kimberley Process certification,” said

Turning on to the issue of possible elections next year, Tsvangirai said a democratic reform roadmap agreed as part of the GPA will determine when the country’s next election will be held.

Responding to questions on the role of the military in the possible blocking of a peaceful transition and transfer of power, Tsvangirai said, “There is skepticism on the role of the security forces in undermining the will of the people. We respect our security forces and
we hope that in line with the GPA, they will respect the rule of law, the GPA itself and the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Discussions are taking place to build confidence across the barriers of yester-year.

“We are not oblivious that the armed forces are a pillar of the state and have to be given assurance about the future.”

Tsvangirai said he hoped the new electoral reforms currently taking place will lead to an uncontested electoral outcome.

“We are compiling a new, transparent voters roll and introducing progressive electoral laws. We hope these reforms, combined with a new constitution, will pave the way for an election that will respect the will of the people after the expiry of the current term of the
inclusive government.”