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‘Mugabe attack on Biti senseless’


THE two MDCs have lashed out at President Robert Mugabe for castigating Finance minister Tendai Biti over government’s failure to provide money for agricultural inputs, saying accusing Biti of sabotage was nothing more than political grandstanding on the part of the Zanu PF leader.

Report By Everson Mushava, Chief Reporter

In interviews with NewsDay yesterday, the two MDCs said Mugabe as Head of State and Government had approved every National Budget by Biti and was, therefore, liable for the shortcomings of the budget.

Mugabe lashed out at Biti when he officially launched a $20 million agricultural input scheme in Harare on Saturday, questioning how the government could be ever be broke when it could borrow money.

Mugabe said: “They say we don’t have money, but they are the ones in charge of the Finance ministry. If it were a Zanu PF government, without these other partners, do you think you can tell that to the people? A government can dare not say we have no money to give people to grow food for the country. We can’t say that. We must have the capacity even to borrow. No government does without borrowing from others.”

MDC leader Welshman Ncube yesterday said Mugabe was proffering lame excuses and blaming the wrong people for his own failures as President of the country.

“This is the deliberate, uninformed attitude that got us to the worst inflation when Mugabe ordered Gideon Gono (Reserve Bank governor) to print money. It’s a philosophical point. It is untrue that government can have unlimited resources.

“President Mugabe is Head of Government and whatever happens requires his approval. He cannot, therefore, blame anyone.

Minister Biti reports to Cabinet and funding priorities are agreed at Cabinet level, approved by Mugabe. There is no way the President can distance himself from Biti’s budgets,” said Ncube.

Mugabe also attacked fertiliser-manufacturing companies for failing to produce and dole out fertilisers to farmers even though they might not have been paid for previous supplies.

“The fertiliser-producing companies do not have the fertilisers (and) it is not because they are failing to produce the fertiliser, but they have folded their arms saying the government should first pay for the supplies that we gave it last year . . . If our credit has not been repaid, what good is it to supply more fertiliser? That is the way they have seen it,” Mugabe said.

Education minister David Coltart (MDC) earlier on Saturday had posted on his Facebook wall that Mugabe, who raised $20 million for the agricultural input scheme — $12 million more than the annual Education budget — should disclose the source of the funding.

“The source of the inputs fund may be legitimate, but Zimbabweans will only know that if the President is candid about its source. Transparency,” said Coltart in a statement that could give credence to accusations of parallel government structures as alleged by the two MDCs.

Zanu PF has been repeatedly accused of creaming off the country of diamond revenues from Marange to run a “parallel government” and build a war chest for elections.

Mugabe’s input scheme came soon after the party had reportedly bought over 500 vehicles worth around $14 million for election purposes.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora weighed in, challenging Mugabe to disclose his donors or risk being accused of benefiting from illegal dealings in the Marange diamonds, whose exact revenue remains unclear. Mwonzora said it was illogical for Mugabe to ask Biti to borrow money when it was a Zanu PF administration that destroyed the country’s creditworthiness.

“Mugabe should not blame other people when it’s his regime that destroyed Zimbabwe’s creditworthiness,” Mwonzora said.

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