Tendai Kamhungira 3 July 2017
HARARE – Former Finance minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
president Tendai Biti has warned of the army’s involvement in next year’s
elections and a possible implosion directly linked to the volatile Zanu PF
Biti said this at a Sapes Trust-organised post-liberation southern Africa
programme conference on Zimbabwe in Transition: Reform and Reconstruction.
“For me the biggest challenge of 2018, is not a stolen election . . . the
biggest challenge of 2018 is the physical implosion of this country that
may arise out of encroachment by certain components in the army in
civilian territory . . .,” he said, adding that the idea of the
involvement by the army gives him a nightmare.
His sentiment comes after the military issued a chilling warning to
Cabinet minister and politburo member Jonathan Moyo over his criticism of
a government-sponsored Command Agriculture programme.
The warnings by the army are seen in the broader picture of the factional
fights within Zanu PF. The army is seen to have a large voice in who will
take over from President Robert Mugabe.
The Zanu PF party is deeply divided on who should succeed 93-year-old
Mugabe, who is set to stand as a presidential candidate in next year’s
Amid these divisions, two stark groups have emerged, Generation 40 (G40)
and Mnangagwa’s alleged Team Lacoste.
And as the country draws closer to the elections, the stakes are now high
with each camp leaving no stone unturned in its quest to outwit the other.
Biti – who was part of the panel including former vice president, who is
now the National People’s Party (NPP) president Joice Mujuru, former
Finance minister and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn president Simba Makoni and Zapu
leader Dumiso Dabengwa – said that Zimbabwe is now a broken state owing to
corruption and Mugabe’s bad leadership.
MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa, Zanu PF secretary for administration
Ignatius Chombo and Welshman Ncube, who were also part of the panel,
failed to attend the conference.
The lawyer by profession said that Zimbabwe is a corrupt country, adding
that people need to converge on a common vision, if ever they dream of
removing Mugabe from office.
“Our politics has been personalised and when you personalise politics, you
create little big men. Mugabe is a little big man, he runs this country by
cohesion, capture and corruption . . . and has nothing to offer . . . ,”
Like all the other speakers, Biti expressed high chances of succeeding
under a coalition of opposition political parties.
“We need to have some modicum of reforms, particularly as we go towards
2018. . . this time we talk about the establishment of an independent
electoral management body for the drafting of a new voters’ roll . . .,”
The other speakers all agreed that the issue of positions is not any
necessary in the mooted coalition, adding that advocating for change was
the only priority.
Makoni said people need to focus on what they want not who will lead the
On the other hand, Mujuru said that she does not care about a position
anymore, in a major U-turn from her earlier position that she was the
suitable candidate to lead the coalition based on her experience and war
She said people must come up with ideas to defeat Zanu PF, building this
around a coalition.
” . . . I don’t care whether you say Joice should not lead, I have led, I
have been a vice president for ten years, I have acted though not
executive. But what I want is that which we struggled for before I die. We
do not deserve to be where we are,” she said.
Dabengwa said that Zimbabwe needs not to be in the current messy that it
finds itself in, nearly four decades after independence.
He said that they did not fight oppression to renew oppressors, adding
that there must be a provision of clear alternatives.
He further castigated the country’s Land Reform Programme, which he said
was implemented in a manner opposite from the agreed recommendations.