12 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Biti Chides Mnangagwa, Own Allies for Tribalism

Photo: Herald Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Former Finance Minister and People's Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti. (file photo)

FormerFinance Minister and opposition leader Tendai Biti has roundly condemned President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his own erstwhile colleagues for allegedly turning Zimbabwe into a Kenya through tribal politics

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader was speaking during a panel discussion at SAPES Trust in Harare this past week.

Biti took a swipe at Mnangagwa and his new Zanu PF regime for allegedly displaying tribal attitudes just like his predecessor Robert Mugabe when he was still in power.

"I know that in the 37 years of Mugabe's rule there is ample justification of arguing against the Zezurunisation or Zezuru hegemony, but you don't answer a wrong with a wrong," Biti said while referring to Mugabe's tribe.

"... I have always argued that if the post-coup Zimbabwe was a law firm, it would be called Moyo, Sibanda and Associates.

"That's not good enough. Don't send us into Kenya; don't make certain ethnic groups feel alienated and reified to such an extent that they would be forced to organise at that primitive, ethno nationalistic level."

New President Mnangagwa was seen, by Zanu PF rivals, during Mugabe's time as mounting a spirited campaign for a Karanga takeover.

The stance, at the time infuriated Mugabe, who often scolded his then deputy for being too biased towards his own tribe.

However, in his comments, Biti also condemned his former allies for viewing differences between them through the tribal lens.

"What I find regrettable is that there is an ethnic element to these comrades of ours that we are losing which is bad because this country has never had a serious problem of tribe like other countries.

"Kenya being a good example and so I have been in conversations where people that we have known to be very rational, very objective, who are suddenly so irrational, so crazy and then you ask what's the issue and the issue is tribe. I think that is unfortunate."

Biti was referring to his former allies within PDP who last year severed ties with him amid differences on whether or not to form a coalition with ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party.

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