Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it is planning a conference for an economic revival for a post-Robert Mugabe presidential era. This comes after the MDC described a chance to rescue the country from what it calls the unfortunate economic downturn attributed to government mismanagement and the political impasse engulfing the country. The MDC says it is time for a serious discourse on how the country’s economy should be revived to alleviate suffering of the people and raise the hopes and aspirations of the poor in the society.
From the capital, MDC general secretary Tendai Biti tells VOA English to Africa Service reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabwe’s economy requires a significant reconstruction to regain its former level of success.
“We are preparing for the first post ZANU-PF, post new Zimbabwe, and we realize fundamentally that this economy will require a major reconstruction, and that the kind of work that has to be done is probably and arguably comparable to Europe after the destruction of the Second World War. So it’s not the issue of stabilization, but it’s an issue of downright economic reconstruction,” Biti noted.
He said a massive effort is needed if the country’s economy, in his words, is to rise from its ashes.
“It’s going to require a lot of ingenuity, and we need to engage in this debate to avoid the situation where, the World Bank, the IMF, and others would come and impose a new liberal agenda so we need to craft a reconstruction agenda that is based on human centeredness,” he said.
Biti said there is the need for all Zimbabweans to be part of charting a new course.
“We are also concerned that for a long time, Africa has pursued a development path that is based on raw materials, agricultural and export production, and in our view, that is a false development paradigm. And we need to sculpt for a new Zimbabwe, a new development paradigm that is not arrested by failed models in Africa’s past,” Biti pointed out.
He said the current peace talks in South Africa would not be hampered by the party’s plan for an economic revival.
“The peace talks are about a political agenda, not an economic agenda. The peace talks are about ways and means of ensuring that there is economic stability in Zimbabwe. It doesn’t matter if it is a ZANU-PF government or an MDC government. You have to deal with issues of economic reconstruction,” he said.
Biti said the economic forum would be an all-inclusive discourse.
“It’s not an MDC conference. The MDC might be sponsoring it and initiating the idea, but it’s a Zimbabwean conference. So we hope to have experts from the Diaspora and experts from people who have been in such situations, and so forth. And of course you need to have an international experience. So this is a conference about Zimbabwe, by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans, with international partners. So it’s not an MDC conference,” Biti noted.
He says the MDC intends to invite members of the ruling ZANU-PF party to be part of the conference.
“We would like to see ZANU-PF at the conference. Certainly, an invitation would be sent to them,” he said.