ZIMBABWE – HARARE—Former Finance Minister and People’s Democratic Party president, Tendai Biti, says Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation has reached a tipping point and the country could slide into chaos anytime.
Biti says only a transitional authority can save Zimbabwe from worse situations like a coup, which he believes is possible as infighting in the ruling Zanu PF gets to unprecedented levels.
Speaking at a Southern African Political Economy Policy Dialogue Series on the post Mugabe era, Biti said many factors, including the crisis of leadership in and outside government, the unfinished succession battles in the ruling Zanu PF and economic depression, all point to a possible chaotic situation developing in the country.
The situation, he said, could get worse if the securocrats, whom he said seem to be angling to join the political fray, decided to take matters into their own hands.
“The possibility of a coup is possible,” said Biti.
He said chaos is the mostly likely scenario at the moment if President Mugabe vacated his office now.
The situation, he said, was exacerbated by infighting, which has turned sour, in the ruling Zanu PF.
But Biti said all hope is not lost, noting that the only way out for the country is the establishment of a national transitional authority.
FREE, FAIR ELECTIONS
He said the authority would help restore peace and trust among citizens and create conditions for free and fair elections.
This authority, he said, should be inclusive, comprising political parties, civil society, churches academic and labor.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director, Philani Zamchiya, also spoke at the dialogue session which was titled “Beyond Mugabe: Unpacking Dynamics of a Transitional Authority”.
He said while Biti correctly painted the Zimbabwean situation, it was not clear how the national transitional authority would be born given the sharp differences among the country’s politicians.
He disagreed with Biti on the possibility of a military takeover in the country.
Professor Sabelo Gatsheni–Ndhlovu of the University of South Africa said the positive thing about Biti’s assessment of the Zimbabwean situation is that there are some politicians like him who are working to redress the situation.
President Mugabe has been in power for 35 years and there is no clear political or legal succession plan in place to allow a smooth transition in the even that he decides to leave office or he becomes incapacitated.