Boasting Biti – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Posted on Jan 14 2013 - 3:50am by admin

On a bitterly cold day the Vigil kept warm by laughing at the reported remarks by Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, at a Zimbabwe investment conference here in London. ‘Reported’ remarks because we couldn’t afford to go to the meeting to hear for ourselves at a cost of £90 for the cheapest ticket.

Tendai Biti spoke to Reuters late on Thursday during a visit to the University of Manchester

Tendai Biti speaking during a visit to the University of Manchester last year.

Biti apparently said that Zimbabwe had become ‘a safe and lucrative place to come and invest in’ and was ‘pregnant with opportunities’.

The Minister was also quoted as saying Zimbabwe was on course to have a new constitution – oblivious to the irony that the latest meeting of the cabinet committee appointed to deal with the constitution deadlock had to be postponed because of his absence on one of the expensive overseas visits which he criticized his government colleagues for when he delivered his last budget.

His trip also took him to Canada where he pleaded unsuccessfully for the lifting of sanctions on Mugabe’s friends. If Biti wanted to justify the expense of his trip and the delay it occasioned to the never-ending constitution making process he should have gone to Germany to apologise for the seizure of German property in Zimbabwe in contravention of a bilateral protection agreement.

He might have got the Germans to withdraw their threat to boycott the tourism jamboree planned for the Victoria Falls in August. Better still he could have come and shivered with us at the Vigil where we tell all who pass by not to invest in Zimbabwe until Biti says something sensible about selective indigenization, rampant corruption and general institutional freeloading that has become the hallmark of the unity government.

If Biti had come he would at least have enjoyed the spectacular dancing of Consolata Ngwenya, a member of the Siyaya Arts Group which has been touring the UK with their show ‘Zambezi Express’. There are lots of videos on youtube of this group.

Away on his travels, Biti probably missed the article in the Zimbabwe Independent by the veteran journalist Iden Wetherell. He paints a rather different picture of the situation in Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe, I am sorry to report at the beginning of 2013, is a mess’, he says. ‘It must be evident to even the most simple-minded observers that very little has changed on the ground. The farms audit remains a mirage, senior civil servants are still blatantly partisan, broadcasting is the fiefdom of the former ruling party as it attempts to claw back its electoral losses, while local government has sunk into a state of anarchy as Zanu PF supporters build wherever they like.

“In the midst of this chaos we have the sad prospect of a party hoping to win power that is asleep at the wheel. They are reluctant to tell us what they stand for, slow to respond to the mendacious claims of our erstwhile rulers, and only too keen to learn from their mistakes. Meanwhile their leader is pressing for a motorcade which is the last thing the motorists of Harare want to see on their roads”

Other points

• 26 Vigil supporters went on to a meeting of the Central London branch of our sister organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). The Chair, Fungayi Mabhunu said they must intensify their efforts for peace, justice and freedom. It was agreed that the branch would organize a demonstration to hand over ROHR’s petition to the UK Border Agency asking them to stop deportations until after the elections in Zimbabwe.

• Our first Zimbabwe Action Forum of 2013 will be next Saturday after the Vigil (see Events and Notices for details). We are holding these forums more frequently to focus more closely on our activism. Forums will now be held on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

• Round 13 of the Free Zimbabwe Global Campaign (FZGC) will take place next Saturday when we will demonstrate outside the South African High Commission to urge President Zuma take a more robust approach to Mugabe to ensure a level playing field for the coming elections (see Events and Notices for details).

• Today we conclude our summary of Vigil highlights of 2012, covering the second half of the year (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/465-vigil-highlights-july–december-2012). We note the Vigil diary of 1st September says: ‘We have Tendai Biti touring the world expressing his admiration for Mugabe and saying how the economy is poised to power ahead. Yet now he tells a luxurious conference at the Victoria Falls that Zimbabwe has a per capita annual income of about $320’.

• Vigil supporter, musician Kudaushe Matimba (formerly of the Bundu Boys), is performing in a concert ‘Mwalimu Express’ in London on Sunday 20th January. There will also be a showing of the film ‘Robert Mugabe . . . What happened?’ For details see Events and Notices.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register. 

  • MuZimbo ariKuZim

    Please Virgil people and all in Diaspora come back home it is safe for you to come and register and to vote and to change Zimbabwe into a better country. I do not think your continued presence in UK serves any interest whilst some are in the frontline here. Biti is looking beyond the current into the future. The investment that he is calling for will only bear fruit in 12 to 18 months if someone decides to apply now for investment license and I believe Biti is being optimistic here. Please don’t throw brick brats from far off but rather come home and solve problems here.

  • Archford

    Come back home useless diasporans; cowards, zvinotaura Witherell ndicho chokwadi kwauri kwete zvauri kuudzwa neumwe wako wawakabatsirana naye kudestroyer nyika! Heeh! Biti is just a coward like you but is bold enough on this one to tell you the truth not the lies he always tell and you always want to hear! Kwaari zvamuremera saka arikuti vuyai tibatsirane tivake zvatakakonzera kuparadza!

  • Brighton Musonza

    Disappointed that the Finance Minister came to London and addressed top London business geezers but failed to link or explain the future on the premise of the MDC’s JUICE economic plan and Zanu PF’s on-going’s alleged empowerment and indeginisation. The convoluted nature of the two ultra different economic plans need to be out there as a bargaining chip. Biti might argue that he was on government mission and not on party business but Zanu PF would not have wasted that opportunity to sell their side of the story. After all the future economic prosperity the minister was preaching about is based on a political and economic choice of plan. It’s time the MDC take a combative and bold ruthless streak in expressing their economic plan or else they are doomed. Kasukuwre is not gonna do that for them.

  • Anonymous

    Anybody who still thinks MDCs will bring prosperity in this country needs his head examine this party is the biggest let down ever and God forbid they did not assume power otherwise we could be paupers by now.Shame on Biti who was declared as the best Minister of Finance Finance before he even introduced himself in the ministry.Diasporians are nothing but a bunch of cowards and opportunists who are prying on other peoples sacrifices.