Biti urges Zimbabweans to go home and vote

2013-03-09 16:40

Zimbabwean immigrants staying in South Africa were urged to return home and vote in the upcoming referendum on a proposed new constitution for the country.

Secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and Minister of Finance Tendai Biti told a media briefing in Pretoria that arriving at the phase of voting for a potential new constitution was “a miracle”.

“I am a constitutional lawyer myself, and those who have read the new constitution will agree with me that it can hold its own against the best in the world, including the South African constitution, which is one of the finest,” he said.

“We hope that Zimbabweans are going to come in their numbers on March 16 to vote for this very important document. It was not easy arriving at this constitutional and I hope that the miracle will reach fruition by a successful referendum on March 16.”

Biti said he was confident the MDC would win the next elections, set to be held this year after the new constitution is adopted through the referendum processes. “When we go to a credible election, the MDC will win and Morgan Tsvangirai will be the next president of Zimbabwe. The MDC is a people’s project, not a political party formed in an air-conditioned hotel … the people will protect their project,” he said.

Biti said the MDC is proud of its contribution to the coalition government. Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and arch-rival Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government after a highly disputed election in 2008, and agreed to hold fresh polls only after adopting a new constitution.

“When I became finance minister, inflation was 500 billion percent which has never happened elsewhere in the world. People were dying of cholera and typhoid – 4 000 people every week. We have now achieved macro-economic stability, inflation has now been below 4%,” he said.

The coalition government helped mend the economy and avoid a tip into full-fledged conflict in the aftermath of violent elections in 2008. The minister said the 2013 polls will be a watershed moment in the history of Zimbabwe.

“The 2013 election is without a doubt the most important election after the in 1980 election (which ended years of British colonial rule) in our country. It’s a make or break election for the average Zimbabwean.

“This election will either stop the crisis and bring a legitimate sustainable outcome or will further exacerbate the crisis so the four years we have spent in the inclusive government would have been a waste of time,” he said.

Biti, a firebrand critic of Mugabe, expressed gratitude to the people of South Africa and the region for consistent efforts to bring peace and stability to the land-logged nation.

He said for the upcoming election, Zimbabwe needs to invite “an army of observers” to monitor the polls.

“We feel that as a country we should have nothing to hide. Whether you are coming from Timbuktu or Beijing, you should be allowed to come and observe,” said Biti. – Sapa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.