Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has waded into Zanu PF factional wars, urging 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe to pass on the baton to either Vice President Joice Mujuru or Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to save the economy from further collapse.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 34 years now, has refused to appoint a successor and is widely expected to retain the party presidency when Zanu PF holds its elective congress in December.
Tsvangirai told his supporters in Seke communal lands yesterday that Mugabe was an analogue president in a digital world, and said he has no capacity to fix the mounting economic problems.
The former trade unionist, who shared power with Mugabe in an uneasy coalition government between 2009 to 2013, said as long as Mugabe was at the helm, the economy will continue on a downward spiral.
"What Mugabe does is now in the past, we must set a new direction for the country to prosper. As long as Mugabe is there as the president and at 90, no one is going to invest in the country. He should even pass the baton even to Mujuru or Mnangagwa," Tsvangirai said.
Factional fights in Zanu PF have reached fever pitch with Mujuru and Mnangagwa billed as the front-runners to succeed the ageing Zanu PF leader.
"It is better (to have Mujuru or Mnangagwa) because he (Mugabe) is stuck in the State House and doesn’t know what is happening," Tsvangirai said.
Mugabe, who is desperately trying to contain factional wars in the ruling party, has been globetrotting, leaving the crisis on the home-front unattended
Tsvangirai said the country was also battered by an adverse global perception.
He said the real solution to the mounting economic crisis — characterised by deflation, company closures and industrial contraction — lies in an MDC-led government.
With Zanu PF struggling to revive the economy, Tsvangirai said there was an urgent need to attract foreign direct investment and also come up with a clear economic plan to extricate the country from the present economic quagmire.
Zanu PF’s economic blueprint ZimAsset, which Mugabe’s party is touting as the panacea to the country’s woes, has already been dismissed as pie in the sky by economic and political experts.
The economic blueprint needs a huge capital injection of $27 billion.
By its own admission, Zanu PF says it could take up to 40 years for the objectives of the five-year economic plan to be realised. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has already painted a gloomy outlook, with senior division chief, Simon Nyarota telling a meeting of industrialists in Harare last week that the economy would further "decline and it will be similar to the 2007/08 but this will be worse because we are dollarized so we do not have anything or a policy that will stabilise the economy immediately like what happened in 2009."
With unemployment hovering around 80 percent and industries downsizing or closing down almost on a weekly basis, Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans were at the mercy of Zanu PF.
"The problem in Zimbabwe humbwende (cowardice)," he said. "Fear will not get us anywhere; it will not solve our problems.
"Sometimes I wish I was still young," said the MDC leader as he emboldened his party youths to demand jobs and social services from the ruling government.