14 February 2019

Southern Africa: Biti Warns of Rwanda-Scale Genocide in Zimbabwe

Photo: VOA
Tendai Biti (file photo)

MDC deputy national chairman Tendai Biti has likened the recent brutalisation of civilians by the security forces to the Rwanda genocide of 1994 which claimed 800,000 lives.

He was speaking during a panel discussion at the 6th CEO Africa Round Table underway in Victoria Falls on Wednesday.

A lethal response by the government to last month's countrywide protests left more than a dozen people dead and some 78 injured from gunshot wounds according to human rights groups.

More than a 1,000 people were also arrested amid claims that the security forces committed widespread sexual violence during the crackdown.

Biti called for appealed for a "spirit of nationalism" as he suggested a host of

recommendations for the country to address its endemic economic and political challenges.

"We have to craft an agenda of nation building," said the former finance minister.

"We have a country but no nation; and the level of toxicity is equal to Rwanda in January

1994. I say January because in April there was genocide and we are likely moving in that direction."

Biti said a cross-cutting reform process, including reducing executive presidential powers is needed as a matter of urgency.

"We can't be a country that beats up its own people, raping women and shutting down internet. I am not proud to be Zimbabwean after these events that were published in the Amnesty International report," he said.

"As for proposed solutions, I agree with the need for dialogue, but it should be genuine and underwritten by the international community. We need to end state capture and demilitarize our streets.

"As a constitutional lawyer my opinion is that we gave too much power to executive president in Section 5 of the Constitutional amendment."

Zimbabwe, the opposition politician, insisted needs economic reforms where the focus should be on dealing with foreign exchange and corruption.

A referendum was likely needed to gather people's views about the way forward with regards to the introduction of local currency.

The top MDC official also called for the abolition of command agriculture programme saying despite gobbling $4 billion tax payers' money, nothing has come out of the government programme.

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