‘Mugabe out of ideas to fix economy’

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Copy of Copy of nt MUGABE-_0220_11 Reuters Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Photo: Mike Hutchings

Harare - Zimbabwe's former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Monday that long-ruling President Robert Mugabe had “run out of ideas” to fix the economy amid massive unemployment and a brewing financial crisis.

“Mr Mugabe remains marooned from the reality of the national situation, oblivious to the daily predicament facing Zimbabweans as they struggle to survive,” the opposition leader said. “The government simply has run out of ideas.”

Tsvangirai, who was premier from 2009 to 2013 as part of a power-sharing deal with Mugabe, said corruption and state profligacy were exacerbating economic woes as the country is saddled with a $10 billion debt.

“Systemic corruption and unbridled avarice (greed) have become an albatross of this economy,” he said.

“We have a government that has failed to mobilise a rescue package for the productive sector,” Tsvangirai said, adding that the result was an “unmitigated failure” to “rescue this abysmal situation”.

He blamed the government's latest moves to seize majority stakes in foreign-owned companies for chasing away potential investors.

Under a new law, companies are required to hand over 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans.

The economy has still not recovered from an economic meltdown that began more than 10 years ago after Mugabe pushed for the controversial seizure of white-owned land.

Independent economists estimate that unemployment in what was once known as the breadbasket of Africa now stands at 80 percent.

“There is an acute lack of investor confidence and support by development partners,” Tsvangirai said.

“We are isolated from meaningful investment capital flow and substantial development financial assistance.”

Average Zimbabweans are bearing the brunt of the economic crunch, Tsvangirai noted.

“The ordinary people of this country are simply failing to cope with life in the current socio-economic circumstances that are upon us,” he said.

Tsvangirai leads the beleaguered MDC opposition party that lost the July 2013 elections to Mugabe, his long-time rival.

The former premier maintains that those polls were rigged.

Since losing the vote, Tsvangirai has faced growing criticism within his party, with some suggesting that he should step down.

His term at the helm of MDC ends in 2016.


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