Home » Governance » MDC Renewal Team – Old Wine in Old Bottles [opinion]

Biti and crew should desist from dishing out the anti-Zanu-PF mantra but for once simply enunciate policies they will introduce to resolve the economic challenges spawned by the western-imposed sanctions

THE ranting by Tendai Biti and members of his MDC Renewal Team at a meeting held at Stanley Hall in Bulawayo last week clearly exposed the new opposition outfit as no way different from its mother party led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Like Tsvangirai before him, it appears the Renewal Team leader, Tendai Biti, instead of simply enunciating his party policies to his supporters, has an unquenchable penchant to bash Zanu-PF and, in the process, proffer himself and his lot as the “chosen ones” who will bring heaven on earth to all Zimbabweans.

During the Stanley Hall meeting, Biti was quoted in the media as saying: “Zimbabwe, and Zanu-PF in particular, has failed four generations since independence. These generations have not known any peace or prosperity. If you go to South Africa, most of the thieves there are Zimbabweans who have been failed by this misrule. This is where we, as the Renewal Team, come in.”

He further said: “It is obvious that Zanu-PF will not make this country move forward because they are clueless. The Renewal Team has the solutions and will form the next Government.”

True to their phony philanthropy, the Renewal Team once again used monetary promises as a propaganda tool to lure supporters to their political corner.

The Renewal Team’s acting national chairperson, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, promised that: “We will pay compensation for people who were killed, goats and cattle killed.

Where the children need to have school fees paid or medical expenses paid for victims, we will start helping them now as a party before we come into Government.”

Surely, the MDC Renewal Team does not think that Zimbabweans have such a short memory and can easily be fooled into believing that Biti and crew are going to be their “saviours”.

Remember this is not the first time that the country has been promised manna from heaven by the MDC.

During their inconsequential stint under Tsvangirai, this team was part of the wishful juggernaut that promised people blissful change once they come to power. It should be noted that this team eventually came into power in 2009 under the aegis of the short-lived inclusive Government.

By then, the Renewal Team was embedded in the MDC-T, which after getting sworn into Government, promptly held a rally at the Harare Exhibition Park where, as usual, they promised to use their financially endowed Western connections to positively turn around the lives of Zimbabweans.

Prominent among the palatial promises made by this team was the significant improvement of salaries and working conditions for civil servants. The way these promises were later handled by the MDC-T and Biti, in particular, will assist me in demonstrating that promises made by either the MDC-T or its renewal sidekicks will remain illusory and unfulfilled.

Biti was chosen by the MDC-T to become the Minister of Finance. By designation, he became solely responsible for mobilising resources from their western friends to fulfil the idyllic promises they had made to the people.

What took place over the next four-year term of the inclusive Government was an antithesis to what was promised by Biti and company.

Instead of becoming the most rewarding period in their lives, the livelihoods of civil servants under the financial stewardship of Biti became the driest patch in their working lives. The Government workers went for four years without any salary increment.

Their once traditional January annual salary adjustment was frozen and all their annual bonuses got contested and became uncertain.

Job freezes were introduced and retrenchments were mulled.

To cap it all, it was at the height of these austere measures that when the civil servants duly asked for an adjustment to their earnings, Biti callously asked them to follow him to the toilet and see if he defecates money!

This is the same Biti who is now telling the electorate that he and his team are “God-sent” and have all the solutions to the sanctions-inspired economic challenges facing the people.

What is even more insincere is for Biti to say that Bulawayo has become a “giant museum”. During his address at the Stanley Hall meeting, Biti said: “The state of affairs of Bulawayo industries is so sad. We used to have the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employing thousands and with about four workers’ unions. Sadly, this is no longer the case. It is so sad that Bulawayo that was once the industrial hub of the country has been turned into a giant museum of national failure with hundreds of closed companies.”

It is worth noting that during his stint as the Finance Minister, Biti cataclysmically failed to come up with any measure to revive moribund industries in Bulawayo. He even failed to extend Government funding to the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF) that was created to assist struggling industries in places such as Bulawayo.

DIMAF is a US$40 million fund in which Government was expected to contribute US$20 million while the rest was to be injected by Old Mutual. Biti failed to mobilise money for the Fund. He even rebuffed suggestions for him to use part of the controversial US$120 million IMF Special Drawing Rights to fund DIMAF.

For Biti to even talk about the state of the NRZ is sheer propaganda. We will dare ask him, which initiatives or policy papers while he was Minister of Finance did he craft to rebuild the NRZ? Nothing!

So what is it that he will do differently if he is voted into power as the leader of the MDC Renewal Team?

Biti, together with the MDC-T and the Renewal Team, failed at an opportune moment availed by the inclusive Government to demonstrate that they could fulfil all the promises they inexhaustibly and generously made at each given campaigning opportunity.

They failed to prove their mettle during the inclusive Government and that is why they were rudely and overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate during the 2013 elections.

No matter how Biti and company would want to repackage themselves, they will remain the same fork-tongued and ideologically barren lot that tries to hoodwink the electorate by making heavenly promises they would abandon once in power.

For their benefit, Biti and crew should desist from dishing out the anti-Zanu-PF mantra but for once simply enunciate policies they will introduce to resolve the economic challenges spawned by the Western-imposed sanctions.

Source : The Herald