Mr Tendai Biti the reluctant leader of the so called MDCT Renewal Team is reported having said that Mr Robert Mugabe presided over the demise of Bulawayo as an industrial hub.
The sentiments expressed by Mr Biti are accurate, nobody can challenge them not even Mugabe himself. But here what is most important is that the people of Bulawayo and Matebeleland in general have long memories, they cannot be easily swayed side by side by fly-by-night politicians in the mould of Mr Biti.
When Mr Biti was the Finance Minister in the recent Government of National Unity, he toyed with the people of Bulawayo’s hearts. His government agreed to disburse huge sums of money under the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) scheme. Mr Biti as the patron of this scheme refused to release the funds to resuscitate industries in Bulawayo. His reasons for doing so were political but not economical, he was afraid that Welshman Ncube who was the Minister of Industry and Commerce was going to be perceived as doing something positive for the people of Bulawayo and thereby undermining of the MDC-T as it viewed Bulawayo as it core constituency.
Mr Biti is reported to have said that Bulawayo is a huge monument of government failure and that Bulawayo used to be an industrial hub of the country but that now what is left of Bulawayo industries are just empty shells because of Mugabe and his misrule.
The two positions are irreconcilable; here we see an individual who is conflicted, an individual who puts politics at the centre of what he does and not the needs of the people. In essence Mr Biti is consistent in pursuing his personal political interests over the interests of the people.
Now that he is looking for relevance and new political home is mimicking and pretending to be the champion of the people of Bulawayo’s interests. His aim is simple; he intends to establish his MDC T Renewal Team in Bulawayo. He intends to dislodge the MDC-T (Tswangirayi’s personal property) and establish Bulawayo as MDC-T Renewal team’s core constituency. Mr Biti intends to dislodge ZAPU and MDC (the original one led by Ncube). Mr Biti is not a fool, he knows that the bedrock of strong opposition to ZANU PF is in Matebeleland and Bulawayo.
It is essential that Mr Biti’s machinations are exposed right from the start; the other point pointing to Biti’s machinations is the recent pronouncement by Mr Sipepa (correct spelling is Siphepha –the self-imposed chair of the MDC-T Renewal Team. Mr Siphepha is reported to have said that the victims of the gukurahundi genocide need to be compensated and a truth and reconciliation mechanism put in place. This is another example of seeking relevance at the same time showing unbridled political ambition which does not respect people’s aspirations. Nkomo knows that the people of Matebeleland’s hearts are still oozing fresh blood from the callous wounds from the gukurahundi genocide, however, reality reveals that Nkomo and Biti are being disingenuous in their crocodile tears.
When Mr Felix Mafa Sibanda sought to introduce Members’ private bill in parliament to force the government to acknowledge the genocide and compensate the victims of genocide, the so called sharp legal minds in the shape and form of Mr Biti left him to hang dry and be humiliated in parliament for not following the appropriate procedures for introducing such a bill. Where was Biti? Why did not he support the gukurahundi bill? What makes Mangoma or Nkomo think that Biti has now changed his mind and all of a sudden become a champion for the interests of the genocide victims?
When Mr Moses Mzila Ndlovu fought so hard to bring about justice for the victims of the gukurahundi genocide, the MCD-T which Mr Nkomo and Biti belonged to, did not support him. What has now changed except seeking political relevance which is slowly eluding them?
Written by Thulani Nkala, ZAPU-Europe Secretary For Information, Publicity and Marketing.