HARARE – Makoni, who was expelled from the ruling party soon after launching his presidential bid last month, said the immediate task of the multi-party National Authority would be to deal with the national crisis.
Makoni’s Cabinet, or National Authority, will comprise officials from all the political parties with a major presence in Parliament.
Before launching his presidential bid, Makoni was a member of the ruling party’s decision-making body, the Politburo.
Compared with President Mugabe and his two vice presidents, all of whom are in their 80s, Makoni is a youngster at just 57.
While the party old-guard were fighting the liberation war in the 1970s, Makoni was studying chemistry in Britain, gaining a BSc and a PhD. But as well as being a student, he went on to represent Zanu in Europe.
When the first post-independence government was formed,Â Makoni was appointed deputy minister of agriculture. He was 30. Over the next four years he served as minister of Energy and of Youth before abruptly leaving government.
He later became executive secretary of SADC, a job which he says required a fine balance between high principles and pragmatism.
Mugabe later appointed Makoni Finance minister in 2000, but fired him three years after clashing with him over devaluation of the Zimbabwe currency, and his staunch resistance to a Zanu (PF) project to pay millions to freedom fighters.
Makoni says the nation now needs younger leaders to tackle the worst economic crisis since Mugabe led the nation to independence in 1980.
Â We will have to deal with the crisis currently facing our country mainly the food crisis, the energy crisis, the transport and communications crisis, the water and sanitation crisis and the health crisis, Makoni said.
Makoni has long been seen as a possible compromise candidate, who could appeal to moderate Zanu (PF) supporters, as well as opposition sympathizers.
At a rally in Bulawayo last week Saturday, Makoni unveiled his new backers, which include a senior Zanu (PF) Politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, former Speaker of Parliament Cyril Ndebele, and a number of former ZIPRA commanders, among them Roma Nyathi.
At a rally in Harare last Sunday Makoni was joined on stage with former Zanu (PF) heavyweights Edgar Tekere, Kindness Paradza, Margaret Dongo, Fay Chung and Zanu (Ndonga) leader Wilson Khumbula.Â
Former Industry and Trade minister Nkosana Moyo has also been roped into Makoni’s presidential bid, and is part of the strategists formulating his program of action together with kingmaker and academic Ibbo Mandaza.
The opposition MDC led by Arthur Mutambara has reasserted its support for Makoni, and is urging supporters at all their campaign rallies to vote for Makoni.
Makoni explained that he was not in alliance with any one particular political party because I am with the people and for the people and I know the people are in Zanu (PF), the people are in MDC, the people are in other formations, the people are in churches, the people are in industry, the people are in trade unions, the people are women, the people are youths, the people are ex- combatants, the people are farmers, they are industrialists.
Makoni said in the short term, there was need to ramp the supply side of the economy by boosting production.
In the short term we must restore capacity, institutional and individual capacity, to get the country working again, he said.
He claimed the election would be free and fair, and refused to respond to allegations by Mugabe that he was a prostitute and a frog.
Makoni said if elected to power he would not stand in the way of any future attempt to bring President Mugabe before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities committed during his bloody reign.
What I can say is that if the ICC makes a request to us that request would be considered through due process, Makoni said. We will be a full member of the international community and we will act in accordance with normal standards of international justice.
He said there was need to remove the pervasive atmosphere of fear in the country at both individual and at community level.
The country is a nation of fearful people, Makoni said. We need to remove the mistrust that dominates our everyday lives.
Former Finance Minister Dr Simba Makoni, who is running for president as an independent, says after winning the March 29 presidential election, he will constitute a National Authority drawing officials across the political divide, then roll out an economic recovery program.