By Lance Guma
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HARARE – As the battle for votes in the 2013 elections intensifies, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has described the empowerment model being pursued by their rivals in Zanu PF as the “predatory accumulation from the rich to the rich.”
The MDC-T Secretary General said the indigenisation policies being pushed by Mugabe’s party were “not empowerment; but an ‘an elite predatory transfer.’ Biti said there was a need to expand the national cake so that all Zimbabweans can benefit from it and not just a few in Zanu PF.
“The starting point is to recognize fundamentally that Zimbabwe is a very small economy, less than 3% of the entire SADC economy with a mere budget of US$3.8 billion and Southern Africa’s 3rd smallest economy after Lesotho and Swaziland, nominal GDP about US$11 billion so the cake is very small.
“The challenge is how do we expand the cake. The point of departure between MDC and Zanu PF is that Zanu PF starts from the starting point that let’s distribute this tiny economy which is a rat, lets distribute this tiny rat to over 14 million people,” he said explaining the MDC counter policy called JUICE.
“The MDC’s position is that fundamentally, let’s expand this economy. Let’s have supply side reform that expands the cake so that it becomes an elephant. And in that way, we can have more economic players than when you have a tiny population participating,” he said.
Biti argued that the Indigenisation Programme was not nationalisation as “nobody is getting shares for free. You have to buy them.”
He said in a situation “where the per capita income of the average Zimbabwean is US$370.00, and in a situation where 85% of the people are living below the poverty datum line it means only a very few people, a tiny elite can afford to buy shares in Barclays bank, Zimplats,” he added.
Zanu PF MP and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere hit back this week by suggesting that MDC-T policies were borrowed from Abel Muzorewa, the short-lived Prime Minister of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
“It is clearly accepted by the whole world that Zanu PF is going to win the elections because it has empowered Zimbabweans. The MDC-T is regurgitating what Muzorewa used to say that ‘leave the whites alone, we just want jobs’ because that is the same mantra that the MDC-T is repeating.
“They are talking about employment creation only, but we in Zanu PF are talking about decent jobs and empowerment of the people. Who says if I am a farm owner I am not employed? We want to support our own young people to create jobs,” Kasukuwere said. Nehanda Radio