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Makoni Promises Reconciliation As One Cure for Zimbabwe's Problems


Former Zimbabwe finance minister Simba Makoni has been providing more details about his decision to run as an independent against President Robert Mugabe in next month’s general elections. He says he has a better chance of winning the March 29th election than either President Mugabe or opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Makoni told VOA that the secret to his possible victory is that unlike the other candidates, he is offering compromise and unity through what he called national re-engagement.

“The reason I have decided to run for the people of Zimbabwe is that I believe our country needs change in leadership in order to provide the basis for resolving the problems confronting us. I personally don’t hope to bring about that change. But I hope to participate with those who share the way I believe we can solve our problems to bring about that change. And the main platform for bringing about that change is what I call national re-engagement, providing a framework, an environment, and the mechanism or mechanisms that enable the people of Zimbabwe to work together again to solve their problems,” he said.

Makoni who has been kicked out of the ruling ZANU-PF party, said he is entering the race as an independent and does not intend to enter into an alliance with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"I’m offering myself directly to the Zimbabwean electorate. The good thing about our electorate system, and there are not a lot of good things at the moment, but one good thing is that the president is elected by the whole country directly. And so I am offering myself to the whole electorate for the people who can vote to vote me directly. And I believe that’s where my support will come from,” Makoni said.

But with an already fractious opposition MDC, Makoni said his entering the race does not mean the automatic re-election of President Mugabe. In fact he said he stands the best chance of being elected president.

“I think theoretically analytically that is possible. But if you read, feel and understand the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe at the moment, the people are seeking leadership at the highest office that will enable a national process to be engaged in order to solve the country’s problems. And I believe that of the three people who are so far announcing to run for president, which is the sitting president Mr. Mugabe, myself and Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, the choice of the people there is not difficult to make,” he said.

With Zimbabwe’s economy battered and an inflation rate of about 26,000 percent, Makoni said Zimbabwe’s problems are a result of people not working together.

“I think I need to underline that much as we face a Herculean task, and I will not deny that, much of what we see are symptoms of the underlying problems of Zimbabweans not working together, the disjointed, the polarized or the tense relationships within the nation. And I am proposing that the first cure for all our ills is a national healing, national reconciliation, enabling the people to connect again, to re-engage, and that once they connect again, the can offer themselves the mechanisms, with the help their friends naturally, to deal with hyper-inflation, fuel crisis, and power shortages and food crisis,” Makoni said.

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