BULAWAYO - Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa has said President Robert Mugabe does not seem to have a strategy for extricating the country from its parlous economic state.
Briefing journalists at his party offices here yesterday in response to Mugabe’s recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), Dabengwa accused Mugabe of presiding over a dangerously unbalanced economy which had contributed to the present financial crisis and recession.
Delivering his SONA in Harare last month, the 91-year-old president welcomed western re-engagement in his country’s economy, the first such statement in a decade and a half of strained relations with the US and Europe.
Zimbabwe will seek to “repeal all laws that hamper business,” he said, and the government has a plan to revive agriculture, including cotton, and expand the mining industry.
“We think he (Mugabe) is out of touch with the situation on the ground,” the Zapu president said.
“If only Mugabe allowed himself to say today, I am not doing anything but visit the industries in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and other towns, just to take his time and look what is now left of all those factories that used to manufacture, I don’t think he would be saying some of the things that he is saying.
“He would not even come up with such a hollow 10-point plan package that he presented during his State of the Nation Address.”
Mugabe was booed and heckled by opposition lawmakers as he presented a 10-point plan which included boosting agricultural growth, encouraging private sector investment and fighting graft.
Dabengwa accused the people surrounding Mugabe of misleading the nonagenarian.
“The fault really lies in the people who are next to him (Mugabe) who are not telling him the truth, who still tell him that the country is up and running,” Dabengwa said.
“Yet we all know it’s going down. They don’t tell him the truth of the actual state of the nation. That’s why I am saying he needs to give himself that time.”
Dabengwa said while Zapu like other opposition parties have on several times rang alarm bells on the large scale of deindustrialisation, Mugabe dismissed it as propaganda.
The former Home Affairs minister said it was never in the former liberation party’s DNA to admit failure.
Dabengwa said the ruling regime has abandoned all pretence at constitutionalism in pursuit of populist policies in the quest to cling to power.
“As we speak, Zimbabwe is in a sorry state. All facets of a democratic State are non-existent,” he said.
“We know that Zanu PF, being the mix of arrogance and empty pride that it is, is too ashamed to admit defeat and failure, and as such will always scream liberation war credentials as qualification to be a stakeholder.”
Dabengwa added: “Zapu reminds them that they did not fight the war alone, the time for guns and sloganeering is past.
“Come to the table as (Rhodesian leader Ian) Smith did and let us build the country together just as we defeated oppression together side by side.”
Dabengwa called for all like-minded stakeholders to come together for dialogue on a way forward before the country “grinds to a halt.”