via Biti says to meet Botswana leader – New Zimbabwe 12/09/2015
FORMER Finance Minister Tendai Biti will this week embark on an African charm offensive to woo regional and continental leaders’ support to help find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s growing crisis.
Biti was last week elected president of the newly formed People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In his acceptance speech at the end of his party’s three day inaugural congress, the former treasury chief said he already has an appointment with Sadc chairman and Botswana president Ian Khama.
“We have an appointment with President Khama in Botswana as part of our efforts as a party to resolve our country’s problems,” Biti said.
Khama is a known critic of President Robert Mugabe’s administration and his record of human rights abuses as well as constraining opposition activities.
Biti said his international relations team headed by Willas Madzimure (former Kambuzuma lawmaker) would also meet with the ANC of South Africa, as well as the ruling and opposition parties in Mozambique and Tanzania among other African countries.
“We are a Pan-Africa, social democratic party hence we will seek to establish ties with opposition and ruling parties in Africa,” he said.
“We will send a delegation to meet with the ANC in South Africa next week. We will meet with Frelimo (Mozambique’s ruling party), Chama-Champinduzi (Tanzania).
“We will hold talks with parties from Tshwane (Pretoria) to Yaoundé in Cameroon, even Libya because we are an African organisation; we are going to engage Africans.”
The PDP leader said he has had “dream since childhood, that another Zimbabwe is possible. Not a Zimbabwe that is the pothole capital of the region but one in which all are equal before the law. One in which constitutionalism and the people’s rights are respected”.
“I have a dream that another Zimbabwe that provides jobs for its people in an environment of economic and social stability is possible.
“Let us work together to build a team that can deliver this to our people. Even if it means dying for this cause we are ready,” Biti said.
He said his party’s leadership would also meet this week to set up “strong committees” to negotiate with other parties in a bid to form a coalition against Mugabe’s government.
“It is now or never. It’s either we remove Mugabe constitutionally by 2018 or we are damned because these crooks, the killers fronted by the butcher of Esigodini (Emmerson) Mnangagwa will strengthen their stranglehold on power. Our situation will be worse that it is now,” Biti said.
“We will talk to every Zimbabwean, we will form alliances based on a clear value system but for the good of the country. We need to swallow our collective egos and agree that Zimbabwe comes first, that this country is greater than individuals”.
The PDP leader has already indicated he is willing to talk to a group of former Zanu PF stalwarts fronted by expelled Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Biti also has outstanding re-unification talks with former Industry Minister Welshman Ncube’s MDC as well as coalition talks with Zapu, Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn as well as Lovemore Madhuku’s NCA.