Nobody trusts unity govt: Biti

tendai_biti_financeHARARE Zimbabwe requires US$53 billion to restore its economy to what it was 10 years ago but is unable to raise funding from donors who remain unconvinced the country is on an irreversible path to democracy, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week. (Pictured: Finance Minister Biti -- US$53 million required to restore Zimbabwes economy

A power-sharing government formed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutamabara last February has halted unprecedented recession and promised to revive Zimbabwes economy that was one of the most vibrant in Africa just a little over 10 years ago.

But rich Western nations have refused to fund the Harare administrations reconstruction programme demanding more political reforms and evidence that Mugabes genuinely committed to sharing power with Tsvangirai.

Biti — who is also secretary general of Tsvangirais MDC party — said in an interview that failure by the government to fully implement a Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the power-sharing administration had crippled efforts to raise support from skeptical donors.

The performance of our economy in the immediate short-term, and our capacity to attract foreign assistance, depends purely and simply on our performance and execution of the GPA. The two are inextricably connected, Biti said. Nobody trusts this government. There is not sufficient evidence from the point of view of donors that we are on an irreversible and irrevocable path to democracy and reform. That evidence is missing, he added.

In addition to failure to attract financial support a US$5.7 billion debt that Harare owes various international creditors continued to constrain efforts to rebuild the economy, said Biti, describing the debt as a serious albatross around our thin necks. Analysts say the coalition government offers Zimbabwe the best opportunity in a decade to end its multi-faceted crisis.

But they warn that the administration could yet fail because of its failure to raise significant financial aid as well as because of unending squabbles between Zanu (PF) party and the MDC-T parties that are the two main pillars of the administration. Tsvangirai last Tuesday urged a summit of Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders this week to discuss Zimbabwes coalition government, adding that his MDC party was getting frustrated because of several outstanding issues from the GPA that he accused Mugabe of refusing to resolve.

We have not resolved or implemented agreed positions on provincial governors despite the negotiators agreeing on a formula on their fair allocation. This is why we urge SADC to place the issue of Zimbabwe for specific consideration during the forthcoming summit in Kinshasa, said Tsvangirai. In addition to the issue of provincial governors, Tsvangirai and his MDC party have been angered by Mugabes decision to unilaterally appoint two top allies as central bank chief and attorney general in breach of the GPA which says that appointments to all senior public posts should be by consensus.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in former white farmer and MDC treasurer, Roy Bennett, as deputy agriculture minister while farm invasions and sporadic acts of political violence have continued across the country. The SADC is a guarantor of Zimbabwes power-sharing agreement alongside the African Union.

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