Tsvangirai calls Zimbabweans back home

2009-12-04 13:06

WHILE urging Zimbabweans to return home, affable Zimbabwe Prime

Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday made light of Wednesday’s announcement by

Finance Minister Tendai Biti that the country expected to experience a 4.7%

economic growth rate this year.

Speaking at a press conference in Sea Point, Tsvangirai said it was

“easy to achieve economic growth after the economy has shrunk by 50% and hit

rock bottom”.

He said even a small increase in mining, tourism and manufacturing

activity would create growth.

However, he said the growth forecast indicated that Zimbabwe was

getting back on track and urged more than four million Zimbabweans who had left

home to return and help reconstruct and develop the country so that it could

once again be the breadbasket of Africa rather than the “basket case”.

Tsvangirai is in South Africa to get his countrymen and women to

return home. Together with a team of government ministers, he has been attending

a two-day conference in Franschoek titled The Challenges of Economic

Reconstruction organised by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and

funded by the Royal Danish Embassy.

With the government delegation he has been holding talks with

prominent figures in Zimbabwe’s diaspora from business, investment and civil

society sectors.

Addressing the press on Thursday evening, he said things had

“definitely changed for the better” in Zimbabwe since the signing of the Global

Political Agreement (GPA) in September last year.

Schools and hospitals had

reopened, hyper inflation had been curbed by doing away with the Zimbabwean

dollar, and the economy had stabilised.

He said the inclusive government, which was “stabilising” was doing

what it could to provide a positive environment for returning Zimbabweans and it

was up to individuals to make use of the new opportunities being created.

He said confidence among foreign investors was slowly increasing

and Biti’s budget speech this week would further ward off investors fears.

“We’re turning a new chapter and that chapter is providing

opportunities for Zimbabweans who are probably now living in worse conditions

abroad (than they would at home).”

Questioned over his recent boycott of the unity government cabinet

for three weeks in October, he said he did it because the GPA was not being

adhered to.

He said the move brought in the SADC mediators who vindicated him

and enabled negotiations to take place which have led to subsequent agreements

on the implementation of the GPA.

Tsvangirai was also questioned both by the press and later by the

public in a subsequent open address over how Zuma’s team of negotiators fared

compared to Mbeki’s much criticised ‘quiet democracy’ approach, Tsvangirai

remained diplomatic.

He said Mbeki and his team were dealing with difficult “substantive

issues” whereas Zuma and his team had a much easier time of it as they only had

to ensure implementation of the agreements already brokered.

However, he praised Zuma’s team for displaying an enthusiasm to get

things moving.

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