With elections looming, Zimbabwe is bound to get more populist statements and President Robert Mugabe has fired the first warning shots by attacking his political foes over farming inputs.
While donating inputs to Zanu PF supporters at the party’s headquarters over the weekend, Mugabe lashed out at the MDC-T formation, apparently attacking Finance minster Tendai Biti for not doing enough to fund the agricultural sector.
In launching his inputs scheme, Mugabe took a swipe at Biti for allegedly failing to provide funds for farmers.
“This animal (inclusive government) wants to eat, but when we say the food comes from farming, the other side (MDC) says they are incapable, but the Zanu PF side continues to say we should farm, we should get inputs. How is this animal supposed to survive? How is the nation supposed to survive? Are you (MDC) not getting this message?” Mugabe was quoted as having said.
He tried to paint a picture that Zanu PF was sincere in funding the backbone of the country’s economy while the MDC-T, which is in charge of the Finance ministry, was insincere.
In so doing Mugabe portrayed himself and his party as protecting the farmers’ interests.
For starters, we do not expect such statements from a national leader who fully understands how economics works and who is aware that it is not feasible to blame Biti and the MDC-T for not doing enough in any sector.
After all, the President should know better that failure in the coalition government is collective, not individual. It’s unfortunate the President has chosen to see sabotage where it is not there. Fertiliser companies are a business and most of these companies need to generate a profit if they are to survive. How do we expect these companies to continue producing fertiliser when the same farmers do not want to pay for their inputs?
Where is Biti supposed to get the funds from when the country does not have its own currency, thanks to Zanu PF policies?
For how long should the country continue to provide inputs, to farmers for free every season?
Already millions have been pumped into the agricultural season since the formation of the inclusive government in 2009, but the country has nothing to show for it.
Farming is a business. What stops our farmers from approaching banks if their projects are bankable? It’s time to call a spade a spade. Farmers should stand on their own. Why is it that only farmers that are producing maize expect to be supported? Why can’t they learn from their counterparts who plant tobacco?
The season of freebies has long since gone.
Besides, even as the President suggests that as a country we should borrow, who would lend to a country whose creditworthiness is in tatters?