FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti says African diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe are eager to see Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeed President Robert Mugabe.
BY SILAS NKALA
Biti, who is also MDC Renewal Team secretary-general, told an Africa Day meeting in Bulawayo on Monday that some diplomats had confided in him that they preferred Mnangagwa because they believed he had the capacity to turn the economy around.
However, Biti said he had advised the envoys that Mnangagwa could be worse than Mugabe.
“I was talking to diplomats in Harare who said Mugabe must go and it would be good for Mnangagwa to take over the presidency. They said he is better than Mugabe,” he said.
“I told them that Mnangagwa is worse than Mugabe. I tell you it would be worse when Mnangagwa becomes President of this country.”
Biti also lashed out at Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko over his claims that the Gukurahundi genocide was a conspiracy by the West.
Mphoko recently declared that Mugabe had nothing to do with the 1980s atrocities in Matabeleland and the Midlands regions. Biti said the Vice-President could not cover up the atrocities.
“Now we have this Mphoko saying Mugabe is not responsible for Gukurahundi which he claims was a conspiracy of the West. I know there are CIOs (Central Intelligence Organisation) members here,” he charged.
“I want to know what Mphoko is smoking! This cannot be mbanje (dagga) because it seems to be much stronger stuff than mbanje. One cannot try to cover up such a known fact.”
Mugabe was Prime Minister when his government deployed an army unit, the 5th Brigade, specifically trained in North Korea for the purpose of crushing “dissidents” in the two provinces.
According to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, the crackdown left over 20 000 civilians dead.
Mphoko claimed Mugabe, despite being the effective head of the country’s defence forces, had nothing to do with the killings.