via We used to get drunk on £1: Tsvangirai – DailyNews Live 11 July 2014 by loyd Mbiba
HARARE – Morgan Tsvangirai has said he used to get drunk on £1 during his heyday as a mine worker.
The eldest of nine children, Tsvangirai was born in drought-prone Buhera, south-eastern Zimbabwe, in 1952 to a father who was a bricklayer.
After quitting school, he worked at a textile mill in Mutare, and later worked at a nickel mine in Bindura.
Launching his national youth assembly jobs campaign on Wednesday night, the former Prime Minister was nostalgic, recalling the 70s glory days when the local currency used to get him inebriated.
“When I was a worker in the mine in 1975, I was being paid Z$450 but those were equal to pounds,”
Tsvangirai recalled, adding, one could buy five beers for £1. Tsvangirai based his last campaign on an anti-corruption platform, reviving the economy and creating one million jobs in the first five years of his tenure, which he asserts is a long-term solution to the country’s insecurity and deepening poverty.
He lamented how times have changed, with Zimbabwe shelving its domestic currency and adopting a basket of scarce foreign currencies.
The MDC leader said the 70s were great years.
“Takamwa doro tikange ticharutsa nemari iyi, (We drank beer until we felt like vomiting) but of course those were the old days, handichamwi zvangu (I no longer drink) but we recall those days with nostalgia,” said the MDC leader.
He was speaking at a forum where MDC youths were demanding the 2 million jobs promised by President Robert Mugabe during the election campaign last year.
Most of the youths in attendance have never worked and they listened to Tsvangirai attentively as he reminisced about the good old days.
“In 1972 when I went to work for the first time I worked in a textile mill which employed over 6 000 workers,” he said.
“And when I moved from the textile sector, I joined the mining industry where there were 70 000 mine workers.
“And when you look at agriculture, there were over 400 000 workers and I can go on and on but what I want to ask is, what has gone wrong?”
Tsvangirai warned that Zimbabwe was sitting on a time bomb and at a very high security risk if the issue of jobs was not addressed.
“Zanu PF should always understand that unless there is a new direction and a new policy thrust, this country is doomed and this country cannot even create one job,” he said.
“We need to change direction and we need to change the mind-set because we cannot turn around the economic decline without changing direction.”
He said Zimbabwe was not facing an economic crisis.
“Zimbabwe is facing a political crisis that is manifesting itself in economic symptoms that we face and those symptoms are poverty, unemployment, lack of dignity and all that,” he said.
“Unless the political paralysis is resolved, there is no way you can resolve the economic problems that this country is facing.
“First and foremost, resolve the political crisis and the economic benefits will fall thereafter.”
Tsvangirai also alleged that 90-year-old Mugabe was the main impediment to the country’s economic recovery as he has pursued retrogressive policies.
“You can’t have a leader who promotes personal cults, domination and privatisation of national institutions, corruption and all those things,” he said.
“In other words, unless we have a transformative mind, there is no way this economy can move forward,” Tsvangirai said.
“We are stuck with an albatross called Robert Mugabe, closeted at the state House and does not know what is happening around him.
“You are talking about jobs and he doesn’t feel there is a crisis and in fact at one time he told me that there is no country that gets broke.
“Can you imagine someone like him who says a nation can’t get broke? What new ideas can he bring?”
Tsvangirai said Zanu PF was finally conceding to the need for dialogue.
“I hear Zanu PF says let’s talk; some of us saw it from the very beginning that they are going nowhere,” he said.
“And if they are going nowhere, they have to realise that Zimbabweans have a right to resolve their political and economic crisis and I hope sense has prevailed in their old minds.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo this week said dialogue was possible with Tsvangirai, but first he had to drop claims that Mugabe and his party rigged last July’s elections.