Coalition the worst government since 1980: Mugabe


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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said the inclusive government he formed with his rivals after the February 2008 elections was the worst administration he has led since independence in 1980.

Mugabe told thousands of his supporters at a Zanu PF star rally at Phelandaba Stadium, Gwanda Saturday he wanted the shaky government “go yesterday�.

He further denied any political violence in the run up to the disputed June 2008 run-off he says was used by the country’s detractors to justify the formation of a hybrid government with “agents of the West�.

Mugabe told his supporters he was the genuine winner of the 2008 runoff poll which came three months after he trailed old rival Tsvangirai by 43:47 percent in the initial vote.

He insisted Tsvangirai, his challenger in the second round of the 2008 presidential race, took part in the contest despite his last minute withdrawal citing increased intimidation on his structures by Zanu PF supporters and the military.

“When he (Tsvangirai) saw that the going was against him he pretended he was withdrawing (but) he could not withdraw after he had been nominated and ballots had been printed,� said the veteran leader.

“So he lost but in one or two places, there had been some violence, so it was alleged. And it was also alleged that some of our members from the defence (forces) had assisted in the
build-up of those who went to vote. They had put pressure on the people, although we didn’t see that.

“We tried to explain it as war veterans, people who had long retired from the army but the outsiders, the Europeans and the Americans, said no there had been violence, there had been pressures from the army etc, etc, exaggerating things.

“The African union said well, there has been this pressure which is unfortunate. The African Union continues to listen to Europe and America unfortunately in a number of cases.�

The coalition government is widely credited with helping ease political tensions and, more importantly, putting the country’s economy on the path to recovery after nearly a decade-long recession and years of hyperinflation.

“We formed this inclusive government. It is that government which included vana Tsvangirai nana (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) Mutambara, which had (Tendai) Biti as minister of finance,� he said.

“And we tried to work together and we can see now, from experience, that that inclusive administration was the worst government since independence. Things became worse … the economy continues to deteriorate.

“You were being deceived by the fact that now that we had adopted the US dollar, items that we lacked, food items were now obtainable from South Africa and you could find them on the shelves. Sure but where was the money to come from?

“Our mines were going down, our industries were going down, capacity of our farmers also had declined, you were not being assisted in growing then next to it the droughts that came
one year after another and so we are today in a situation in which we regret.�

He said: “If l had time l would go right across the country and ask the people to raise their hands those who still want the inclusive government – I think you are all fed-up. You want this creature to go.

“I, who has been President of it wanted it to go yesterday, the day before yesterday, the-day-before-the-day-before-the day-before-yesterday!�

Mugabe defended his decision to call for elections July 31 saying he was risking arrest if he disobeyed a Constitutional Court ruling compelling him to announce a date for elections before the end of July.

The veteran leader, who promised to revive industry, health and the education sectors if voted back into power, made lengthy statements in English and often appeared to forget that there was a Ndebele interpreter.

In one instance, he spoke for over 15 minutes until he was reminded to pause for the interpreter.

“Oh, translation! Sorry, sorry, sorry,� Mugabe said sheepishly when he suddenly realised he gone on for too long.

He then attempted to save face by telling the crowd they were educated enough to understand his English.

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