‘Bitter’ Tsvangirai castigates insincere Mugabe

A ‘bitter and angry’ Prime Minister on Friday roundly castigated Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF over what the Premier called ‘insincerity’, calling the unity government a “sorrowful experience.”


Morgan Tsvangirai was addressing the media on Friday morning at his Munhumutapa Building offices, where he briefed the press on recent developments in the government.

The Prime Minister set the tone of the briefing by describing the three year old coalition as a “sorrowful experience,” which “continues to lurch along, albeit with the insincerity, mistrust and the lack of a common understanding that has pervaded this marriage since its consummation in February 2009.”

“This government is a painful sorry of frustrations due to mixed messages from what is supposed to be the same team, non-implementation of key reforms necessary for a credible poll, violence, arbitrary arrests, lack of fiscal space, a liquidity crisis and our shameful failure to pay our civil servants a decent wage,” Tsvangirai said.

He added: “We have failed in many respects as a government mainly because ours is a difficult coalition where there is no shared vision and no shared values.”

The PM spoke briefly about his tour last week of the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields, where his visited the mining firms operating there as well as villagers who have been displaced to make way for the mining. Tsvangirai last week told media that he was ‘pleased’ with the operations at Chiadzwa. But on Friday he appeared to have a change of heart and criticised the lack of transparency in the local industry as well as the situation facing the displaced Marange villagers.

“Those diamonds will mean nothing to the country if they fail to transform people’s lives, starting with the Marange community itself and so far, it appears diamond proceeds can still do more for this country and for the Marange people if there is more transparency in the disposal of this resource,” Tsvangirai said.

He also criticised the ZANU PF indigenisation scheme, saying the “hypocrisy of government on indigenisation is more than exposed in Chiadzwa.

“If we are genuine about community share-ownership schemes, why have we not accorded the same shares to the communities in Marange so that these people benefit from the resources around them? The companies mining there, including those owned by the government, have not done that which we are forcing companies to do,” Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai then went one to detail his discontent with recent unilateral actions by Mugabe, including the reappointment of Augustine Chihuri as police chief. This move followed an ‘agreement’ by the government leaders that Chihuri remain in the position temporarily until an approved replacement was found. But a day later Mugabe’s spokesman announced that Chihuri’s contract had been renewed until 2014, in a clear sign that Mugabe may say one thing to his coalition partners, but is saying the opposite to his party.

“The discord in government has been amplified by the lack of sincerity by President Mugabe and his party,” Tsvangirai said, describing Mugabe as a leader “who indicates left and turns right.”

The PM added: “He has undermined our collective position and agreement as Principals while he directs his functionaries to execute directives that are at variance with our common position. The question is, can the real Mugabe stand up?”

This is one of the first times since joining the fragile coalition government that Tsvangirai has openly blasted Mugabe for his and his party’s actions. SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent Simon Muchwema said the Prime Minister appeared ‘bitter’ and ‘angry’, but he said it is the public that is running out of patience.

“People are saying that what the Prime Minister said is nothing new and there appears to be a lack on wisdom on his part to realise that nothing is changing,” Muchemwa said.

He added: “People are also tired of the Prime Minister responding to all this through the media and they say that it is now time for Tsvangirai to take Mugabe head on.”

SW Radio Africa News

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