MDC Deputy Chairman Tendai Biti is now the most powerful politician in Zimbabwe, more powerful than both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC president Nelson Chamisa, a ZANU-PF activist has said.
This comes as the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday emphasized their terms of engagement that can lead to America being a development partner with Zimbabwe and see the removal of economic and trade sanctions, with Biti’s name being mentioned by a top US government official.
Addressing the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Matthew Harrington said, “There are several steps the government of Zimbabwe could take that would send a strong signal to its own people and to the international community that it is serious about taking the country in a new, more positive direction.
“… the government should immediately end the harassment of members of the political opposition. It should drop charges against former Finance Minister and prominent opposition figure Tendai Biti and all those who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms…”
Commenting on the meaning of that demand by the Americans, ZANU-PF activist Acie Lumumba said:
“Tendai Biti is more familiar with Americans than Nelson Chamisa; Biti is their preferred opposition leader and they will do the needful to prop his rise.”
Lumumba added: “Millions of US dollars will now be thrown towards civic society efforts aligned to Biti.”
Addressing the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Matthew Harrington also demanded that: “… the Government of Zimbabwe should allow the Commission of Inquiry to work transparently and independently, and hold perpetrators of the August 1 violence fully accountable. And, the Government of Zimbabwe should move quickly to ensure legislation is consistent with the 2013 constitution, as well as uphold its letter and spirit.”
Lumumba said that the American government have made President Mnangagwa’s life harder using a kind of bull-horn formation tactic: “The Americans want Vice President Constantino Chiwenga thrown under the bus (using the Commission of Inquiry findings).
“This is a good way for the Americans to split President Mnangagwa and his deputy Chiwenga, but also for them to avert a Chiwenga presidency.
“The Americans have essentially weakened President Mnangagwa and strengthened the MDC.”
Addressing the U.S. Senate Committee, Harrington also said America is seeing a lot of positives on commitment but no action from Zimbabwe.
He added that they still have a long way before they come to the table to talk about loans to Zimbabwe.
“The United States wants a stable, peaceful, democratic Zimbabwe that is genuinely accountable to its citizens and responsive to their needs.
“If there is real, concrete progress along those lines, the government and people of Zimbabwe will find a committed partner in the United States.”