Zimbabwe not ready for elections - Biti

2013-04-08 22:16

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe is on track for another flawed election this year unless it can refresh outdated voter lists, approve "an army" of outsider observers and find foreign donors willing to pay for the vote, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday.

However, postponing the poll to maintain a stop-gap unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is not an option, with the fractious coalition well past its sell-by date, Biti told a Reuters Africa Summit.

"I don't think we are in a position today, right now, of having legitimate, credible, sustainable elections," Biti, a leading member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, said.

"At the rate we are going, it is obvious that we are going to have another flawed election ... Zimbabweans cannot afford another flawed election."

Zimbabweans last month approved a new constitution curbing presidential powers that critics say have been used by Mugabe to entrench his 33-year rule. The referendum removed the main barrier to an election in the second half of this year after a disputed 2008 poll.

But more reforms are needed to reassure investors who have withheld support over charges of human rights abuses and election-rigging by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and criticism of policies such as his seizure of white-owned farms for blacks.

The unity pact between Zanu-PF and the MDC has gone some way towards arresting an economy damaged by more than a decade of hyper-inflation which rendered the Zimbabwe dollar worthless.

Inflation has slowed to single digits while growth is seen above 5% this year after contracting for a decade before the unity government was established.

But progress has been hampered by wrangling between ministers from the two camps and investors are worried about conflicting signals on policies such as the transfer of at least 51% ownership in foreign-owned firms to local blacks.

Need credible elections

"The inclusive government has done well in giving our people a time-out against the economic failures of the Zanu-PF regime," Biti said. "But I think it has outlived its usefulness."

"We need sustainable, legitimate, credible election outcomes in Zimbabwe, and to me that is our number one factor arresting the economy."

The international community would have to foot the bill for the vote, Biti said, as Harare's coffers have been bled dry by a recent census and the constitutional referendum last month.

"For any country, let alone a country like Zimbabwe with a budget of $4bn and a GDP of $12bn, that's a huge strain," Biti said.

Harare is still struggling with more than $10bn in arrears to the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank, meaning it cannot access multilateral funding needed to overhaul its dilapidated infrastructure.

"The bottom line is that the international community must accept the obligation on its shoulders. And by the international community I also include South Africa," Biti said.

Africa's biggest economy, which has absorbed an estimated 2.5 million Zimbabweans fleeing the political and economic downturn, would bear the brunt of another meltdown in its northern neighbour, he said.

"But that doesn't mean the international community should give Zimbabwe a blank cheque. If Zimbabwe wants to be part of the international community, it has to play by the rules."

  • TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-08 23:15

    Politicians never cease to amaze. Tendai doesnt want elections now, Bob wants them pronto and Morgan went to court to demand elections 3 months from Bob's proposed date. Which is which guys?

      Arden Makalane - 2013-04-09 01:50

      zwaka dzwanya

      Rocco DeWet - 2013-04-09 02:46

      Why are you even holding elections when Mugabe lost the 2008 presidential election, and just ignored the outcome? And if things are better in Zimbabwe since you chased commercial farmers off their land, how come you now do not even have money for elections. Jeez, sometimes ignorance in Africa is staggering!

      Sphiwe Jele - 2013-04-09 03:04

      oh great harare nnw u sinking.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:46

      @Rocco DeWet So if we had kept the farmers then Zimbabwe would have money? Pal, the typical Afriforum and it seems to work in RSA. We dont have money coz we are coming out of terrible economic period. The period was due to so many factors including some poor government policies and this....

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 09:18

      @Simphiwe Harare not sinking. Ask RSA companies complying with tough laws in Zim and refusing to do the same here in RSA. Ask yourself why?

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 13:27

      Tinavo - what currency is Zim using again?

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 13:39

      @AllcoveredinNinjas well the US$ of course mate. They destroyed ours, even made a law against our economy, so using theirs to uplift ourselves. Clever Zimbos dont you think?

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 13:56

      Zim destroyed their currency not 'they' , could have used any other currency and now have no sovereign authority over it and as such subject to US federal monetary authority by choice .The act you link there was a means for Zim to access aid and funds for essentials outside of sanctions which were imposed for very good reasons.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 14:00

      @AllcoveredinNinjas That cheap rhetoric has reached its sell by date. Please engage intellectually

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 14:44

      Unfortunately its not just cheap rhetoric but tangible reality . Trust me , I gain no delight in Zim's troubles but white-washing the issues isn't going to help the people who I have had very positive relations with both here and in my travels to the country. My problem is in the complete denial of the Mugabe regime in any accountability for these woes.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 15:13

      There is no whitewashing here mate. Mugabe was just but part of the problem. With me I have a problem with people who think anyone supporting the cause in Zimbabwe is whitewashed. Zimbabwe was born out of a war and the natives thrashed the Brits who had support from the apartheid govt and thats a fact. The Brits then invited the victors for talks and the talk started in mid 70s when they were losing until a deal was reached in 1979. Zimbabweans went to war for one thing only, LAND. Hence the main focus of the Lancaster House Agreement is land. There was a close in that agreement that stated that during the first 10 years there were will a gradual willing buyer willing seller redistribution with the Brits and Yankees paying for the land to be given to original owner. Went smoothly until when that period ended and the Brits reneged, stating that it was an agreement with Maggie and her team so no need to pay for the land. What would you have done if you were a Zimbabwean leader then? Thank them and go home? Yes things got chaotic, but not as chaotic as it did in the 50s, 60 and even 70s when Smith and co were implementing the Land Apportionment ACT only that the victims were black.

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 15:59

      I wasn't talking about the white washing of Zimbabwe independence but the catastrophic results since 2000. Clearly sinking the economy wasn't a good idea , the worst possible decision isn't the only one .Neither am I in opposition for the land cause in Zim and I'm not going to argue the about the injustice of land apportionment. I just completely disagree with how it was conducted. Committing gross human rights violations on your own people (yes , even white Zimbabweans are nationals) both black and white couldn't possibly be 'my only option'.

  • Zolanie Mzozo Menziwa - 2013-04-08 23:35

    mxim i wish God could come himself to rescue that country

      HerpDerp - 2013-04-09 01:45

      Just watch! As soon as uncle bob dies, the world over will revere his death and "miss" a great leader and true african icon!! how STUPID are this people??

      Tums Down - 2013-04-09 06:52

      We South Africans need to help Zim. Take money from the imperialists and give to Zim. I think most ANC voters will agree.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 09:22

      @Zolanie &Turns Down. South Africans need to help themselves first. Your education system is a mess, your people are 2nd class citizens in their homeland, security a nightmare, majority of your people are illiterate (Zimbabwe 2nd most literate country on the continent), outside toiletes, bucket system............the list goes on. Charity begins at home

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 09:31

      And is isnt it amazing how black South Africans like to comment about Zimbabwe (poor spelling and poor sentence construction and all), without being versed on the article on hand, but cant comment on articles on South Africa. Scared of Afrikaner rhetoric?

  • Cane Corso - 2013-04-08 23:59

    Whilst Robber Murdergarbage and his ZANU PooFters is still around Zimbadway will never be ready for anything ever again. Never.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:32

      We did recently held a peaceful referendum that threw away the negotiated document with a home grown one. Do you think south africans can do that without a civil war? and this......................

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 09:34

      Thanks to Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe has has the best tobacco crop in 20 years, and yes, all black farmers. And wait......we are now exporting milk to RSA!!!!!

      Moi - 2013-04-09 10:45

      "Chabikwa applauded raw milk producers for what they have achieved so far with the support of milk processors and government, but said milk volumes were still very low as most milk products were still being imported from neighbouring countries." How are you exporting milk when your minister says you're still importing milk products?

      Moi - 2013-04-09 10:48

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 11:49

      @Moi, Not quoting from News24. And abt rapid economic growth and tobacco farming?

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 13:34

      So why is South Africa making periodic donations to Zim? Mass starvation , hyperinflation, famine , cholera outbreaks ....

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 14:04

      @AllcoveredinNinjas Donating what? read this

      Moi - 2013-04-09 14:34

      What about it? I'm asking about your milk comment. It's hard to take Zim's news publications seriously seeing as they're mostly controlled by government. And yes, I know that the same applies to the majority of our news publications.

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 14:36

      Donating 300 million in 09 , Helicopters , Another 150 million ect. Harare - Zimbabwe is turning to South Africa and Angola for help in plugging a $400m hole in its budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Thursday, lamenting a lack of foreign investment and aid from its traditional Western donors. Biti, who slashed Zimbabwe's 2012 GDP growth forecast last month from 9.4% to 5.6% due to a poor harvest and lack of donor funding, said Harare would seek at least $150m from South Africa and Angola.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 14:51

      I do agree abt helicopters but the big figures, those were loans Biti were asking for. Only country not borrowing at the moment is China so nothing new. And a country is allowed to borrow from friendlier countries in hope of getting lesser stringent attachment to the loan. Zimbabwe was too reliant on the US and the UK and paid the ultimate price. Please tells us something new

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 14:53

      @Moi, that publication is owned by Trevor Ncube, owner of the Mail and Guardian here in RSA. Please do your homework

      Moi - 2013-04-09 15:32

      Yes, he owns it. And???

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 15:38

      @Moi thats why i said do you homework. He is staunch anti Mugabe. Get it now? He is also Zimbabwean by the way

  • simphiwe.mzimela.96 - 2013-04-09 01:44

    May African God (Mvelinqangi)come and rescue His innocent children for Zimbabwe, because all Zimbabwean leaders are not ready to change Zimbabwe our foreign brothers are suffering.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:21

      U get it wrong here simpiwe, we suffered but now we are not. Its only political bickering, not far from from your DA-ANC spats...............

  • Humbulani Sajeni - 2013-04-09 06:15

    Foreign donours .who is these idiots who have millions to throw away ?that country needs some rebels and it will be easy to find new leaders through rebellion

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:24

      Dude, u are commenting on the wrong article, try the one on CAR

  • Stanley Mabunda - 2013-04-09 06:59

    fellow africans form a rebel group to remove that bloody despot

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:35

      Zimbabwean army will whip your asses. You forgot how recently SANDF conceded that they lost to a rag tag army of teenage soldiers in CAR?

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:48

      No need for rebels, we need removals of laws like this.....

      AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-04-09 13:58

      The requirements for their removal are right there in the document.

  • Joseph Vusi Ramaela - 2013-04-09 07:24

    wishing death for someone was never human, but in this case i think its way for zimbabwe to realise change.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-09 08:33

      Its not within us.............

  • Felix Njewa Kankhukwa - 2013-04-09 07:52


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