Thursday, October 4, 2007

Makoni Blasts greedy insensitive leaders!

Originally published by The Zimbabwe Guardian (

IN one of the most direct attacks on the leadership of his own party, Simba Makoni speaking at a function in Zimbabwe's Manicaland province, has described Zanu PF leadership as lazy, greedy, corrupt and selfish.

The former finance minister who is expected to launch a hard fight, at the Zanu PF Congress in December, against Vice President Joice Mujuru and Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa for the right to represent the ruling party at next year's presidential elections, also sparked outrage earlier this year from the conservative sections of the party when he openly spoke about the country's crisis, and criticizing government, basically firing a broadside at the leadership and making insinuations about reformation.

Speaking in Manicaland on Tuesday, Makoni described government's fast track land reform programme, which began in 2000, as a complete failure.

Makoni was invited to speak on behalf of Didymus Mutasa, the minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement and State Security, but requested to represent himself at the function, organised by the governor of Manicaland, Tinaye Chigudu.

The function was held at Chigudu's farm in Makoni District.

Mutasa did not make it to the function, which was attended by senior ruling party officials and traditional chief in the province because he was attending a funeral.

Before launching the blistering attack on the ruling party leadership and government, Makoni requested that he be allowed to speak in his own capacity rather than on behalf of Mutasa. Permission was granted.

"I am standing in front of you today as your guest of honour in my capacity as the only politburo member present," Makoni said, "as minister Mutasa could not make it here today. What I am about to say here is not what he would have said. These are my own words which must not be linked to him in any way.

He said the land reform programme had brought unnecessary suffering among the people.

"Why is it that after the country embarked on the land reform programme there has been starvation in the country? Let us not blame it on droughts but on our own greedy leadership."

"It is shameful for a country such as Zimbabwe to beg for food from countries like Malawi yet this is now happening."

Makoni said the political leadership in Zimbabwe wanted things to come their way on a silver plate. He said it was wrong for people to just grab farms and occupy farmhouses that they never built.

Makoni said such infrastructure did not just come from heaven like manna. Some people would have worked tirelessly to build such houses. But other Zimbabweans only wanted to get such huge investments for free. This met with a deafening silence.

He was addressing requests submitted to Chigudu by the chiefs that they also be allocated farms with mansions such as the one now owned by the Governor.

Makoni told the chiefs to work hard and build their own mansions at their own homesteads.

"If the government allocates you such mansions outside your jurisdictions, how then are you going to administer your areas," said Makoni.

He then attacked the Zanu PF leadership describing them as dictators and selfish individuals who only think about themselves first before they consider the welfare of others.

Makoni said good leaders were those who visited the people regularly and not only when elections were around the corner. He said good leaders consult the people and ask them what they want from the government and not the other way round.

"It shows that there is a problem when you see the people going to their leaders with their grievances," Makoni said. "Our problem in Zimbabwe is that our leaders take their people for granted. They think that they know their problems and prescribe their own solutions.

"Good leaders are expected to ask from the people what they want the government to do for them. The government should not tell the people what to do without consulting them as is happening in our country today. That is dictatorship."

Makoni described the Zanu PF leadership as lazy, greedy and corrupt.

On the issue of corruption in the country, Makoni said he did not blame it on ordinary citizens, saying it was being fuelled by the leadership. He said it was very difficult for a father to stop his child from doing bad things when the child was only copying what the father was doing.

"In short they say a fish rots from the head," he said.

During his hard hitting speech those in attendance maintained a fearful silence unlike when previous speakers took turns to shower praises on Mugabe and the land reform programme.

After giving his speech Makoni said he was happy Mutasa had failed to make it to the function as this had given him an opportunity to speak out on what he thought were problems affecting the country.

"I am happy for Minister Mutasa's failure to grace this important occasion with his presence because it gave me a rare opportunity to say what I feel about my country," he said.

Simba Makoni is regarded by some elements in Zanu PF and outside as the most serious challenger to President Mugabe's leadership. Elements in Zanu PF regard him with a mixture of respect and mistrust.

"He's very good, very committed to the party and the country," says former Information Minister, Chen Chimutengwende back in 2000. But when asked whether he is presidential material, Chimutengwende and other senior party figures refused to comment.

Critics suggest that he is one of the forerunners of the 'Third Way thinking' on Zimbabwe, and is considered by most outside Zanu PF as a 'progressive' the party. Others suggest that he has supported the Zanu PF government for the past 27 years and therefore would not be the best person to offer viable, and believable, alternatives to the Zimbabwe crisis with non-Zanu PF elements.

Whether Makoni is still regarded as presidential material, or is able to pave the way for a future 'transformed' Zanu PF government is yet to be seen.

Comment: Of course Dr. Makoni is the best presidential material so far. He far outshine the likes of Tsvangirai and AGO. Any Zimbabwean with the country at heart would choose Dr Makoni. This is not time for emotions. Let us stop using our hearts to make judgments, but out minds.


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