ZIMBABWE – A TOP MDC-T official Dr Tapiwa Mashakada has endorsed the 10-point plan for Economic Growth enunciated by President Mugabe in his State of the Nation Address last week, claiming he had made similar proposals in Parliament before. This is despite the MDC-T having publicly dismissed President Mugabe’s SONA and the 10-point plan as non-events.
In a leaked social media conversation between Dr Mashakada and other senior MDC-T officials, the former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister in the inclusive Government also incredibly claims that it was his idea to engage Nigerian business magnate Mr Aliko Dangote, who was in Zimbabwe on an investment mission on Monday.
Dr Mashakada concedes that the Zanu-PF Government is setting the agenda on all major national issues, which threatens to make MDC-T irrelevant. Dr Mashakada even foresees his party’s allies in the West softening their stance on Zimbabwe if the leadership continued on its current reform agenda. “Zanu-PF is good at stealing MDC ideas and run with them as if it is theirs. Zanu-PF is good at hijacking things,” said Dr Mashakada in the conversation.
“(President) Mugabe in his State of the Nation Address unveiled a 10-point growth plan. Although it was an adulterated version of what I said in Parliament you can see that my ideas were plagerised (sic) without acknowledgement. “This week, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote who is a billionaire was in Zimbabwe to scout for investment opportunities. He met Mugabe and his economic ministers. He announced he has made up his mind to invest in a (a) Thermal Power Station (b) Cement Manufacturing Plant and (c) Coal Chemical. Again the invitation of Dangote was initiated by me during the inclusive Government when I was the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion. I met Dangote in London and we discussed about investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. We exchanged mobile phone numbers and email addresses.
“However Dangote kept on doubting the Indigenization laws of Zimbabwe. Now that he came, I don’t know what Zanu-PF has promised him. But this is not the first time Zanu PF has stolen MDC ideas.” MDC-T is losing its final stand against Zanu-PF, especially in relation to the West, warns Dr Mashakada. “What are the lessons to us in MDC? If Zanu-PF carries out business and economic reforms, everyone will rush to do business.
“Even Britain and America will soften their stance. Remember the West is already in competition with China whose presence in Zimbabwe is massive. It is all about economic interests. Period. “I fear and warn that this will leave MDC irrelevant. We must not wait for that process to come into fruition. We need to take charge. Now.”
Mr Mashakada says MDC-T has failed to capitalise on “ripe opportunities”. “Look at how we as MDC have squandered all the ripe opportunities to steer change. Vendors, the economy, 3 months notices you name it. We must wake up and smell the coffee,” he says. The candid analysis by Mr Mashakada confirms what many analysts have seen as policy paralysis in the opposition and its failure to project itself as a viable alternative to the ruling party.
A survey last month by the reputable think-tank, Afrobarometer, showed dwindling support for the opposition while approval was picking for the ruling party on the back of policies being pursued by President Mugabe.