Zimbabwe’s making progress: Tsvangirai

2010-09-16 13:59

Zimbabwe is making “tangible” progress, but the “madness” persists, its Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said today.

“The progress is tangible. There are medicines in the hospitals, food in the supermarkets and water in the taps,” he told a conference in Johannesburg on the future of Zimbabwe, hosted by the British publication The Economist.

Inflation had fallen into single digits and 7% growth was expected for the country this year.

“But the madness has not been completely eradicated. We are in a coalition and that is difficult. I share the frustration that the pace of reforms is slow, but the pace is realistic when you consider where we’ve come from.”

Tsvangirai was referring to the power-sharing agreement between his party, the Movement for Democratic Change and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, which came into being in February last year, following a run-off election in June 2008.

“It’s easy now to forget the madness and what was done to our country and its enormous prospects.

Only last year did the inclusive government begin to rebuild and restore.

“Prior to this, growth was substituted by looting and inflation destroyed pensions and even lives,” Tsvangirai said.

There had been a range of “misguided” policies in place to keep the previous regime in power.

“We, the victors, have now been forced to make a deal, and this was not an easy decision.”

Tsvangirai said no-one would have expected him to sit down with Mugabe “and converse as human beings”.

“But that is the reality of the political situation in Zimbabwe today. There is this process of conciliation.”

On the land issue, Tsvangirai said he was committed to fight for property rights.

“We must now move away from land distribution to land production.”

Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe’s inclusive government had now embarked on investment in infrastructure which was in need of repair.

Now that Zimbabwe had committed itself to moving forward, it anticipated re-engagement with the international community.

Tsvangirai said he was grateful for the leadership that the Southern African Development Community had shown.

However, whatever Zimbabwe did, there was always a preoccupation with the role of President Mugabe.

“I’m not his fan – far from it – but remember that the man has been in power for 30 years. What else does he know? Reconciliation was the only solution if there was to be peace in Zimbabwe.

“Not everyone feels that way, especially in the rural areas, but as I have told them, if it’s an eye for an eye then Zimbabwe may be left blind.”

On the issue of Zimbabweans in South Africa, Tsvangirai said that between now and December, a process of registration would take place.

“The majority of these people have no passports. Which country wants three million unidentified people? We can’t have these people just crossing a river and saying that they work in SA.”

On the diamonds from the Marange diamond fields that Zimbabwe had recently sold to international buyers, Tsvangirai confirmed that the Kimberley Process had been adhered to during the sale.

“And the proceeds went straight to the fiscus,” he said.

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