Zim opposition leader slams budget

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Morgan Tsvangirai

Harare - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday dismissed the government's recently published 2014 budget, which includes projections for 6.1 percent economic growth, as “mere fantasy.”

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented the budget to parliament Thursday against the backdrop of a shrinking economy.

“To suggest that the economy will grow by 6.1 percent is mere fantasy,” Tsvangirai told a news conference, adding that the four-billion-dollar-plus budget “stretches the patience of Zimbabweans too far.”

Tsvangirai, who shared power with President Robert Mugabe until elections end July, said the government had “committed a very serious economic crime by budgeting for a deficit.”

“This is going to be a bleak Christmas with little or nothing to share,” Tsvangirai said after a tour of the country.

He accused the government of having no remedy for high unemployment, food shortages and a liquidity crunch hampering business.

On Wednesday angry depositors stormed a bank in the capital Harare after it ran out of cash.

Tsvangirai said the economic woes were a sign that Zimbabweans had lost confidence in the government led by Mugabe, in power for 33 years.

“The truth is that this government has no support from the people.”

“Business has also lost faith in this government,” he said.

“They have the power but are they there to inspire everyone? Hence we have the credit crunch and all problems.”

Tsvangirai's party controlled the finance ministry after he formed a unity government with Mugabe in 2009 following violent disputed polls.

The power-sharing deal ended when the veteran president won the July 31 polls with 61 percent against his rival's 34, in a vote some international observers questioned.


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