By Everson Mushava
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of betraying the vision of Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes by presiding over the collapse of the economy.
Chamisa, who has in recent weeks escalated his dispute with Mnangagwa over last year’s disputed elections, said the country’s political and economic crisis can only be resolved by a genuine dialogue.
In a message to mark Heroes Day today, the MDC leader said Zimbabwans did not deserve to be wallowing in poverty.
“Today, this once breadbasket of Africa is now a basket case,” Chamisa said.
“Surely, this stands out as a betrayal of the ideals of the liberation struggle. Incredibly, Zimbabwe houses vast wealth, exceptionally talented human resources, rich minerals, fertile lands and natural wonders.
“The opportunities for economic transformation and prosperity are limitless and immediately available if we have a people’s government, one that cares about the nation.
“The population of our young and very educated people makes an ambitious economic growth path more certainly achievable in our lifetime.”
Chamisa accuses Mnangagwa of rigging last year’s elections.
Last week he announced that the MDC would start staging demonstrations against the Zanu PF government on Friday to protest the deterioirating economic situation in the country.
“My fellow citizens, nothing short of a political solution through national dialogue will extricate our country from the jaws of impoverishment and suffering,” he said.
“We must have genuine comprehensive political and electoral reforms to transform our country and make it prosperous again
“Let us be the heroes of our time by bringing back that glitter, glamour and glory to our motherland.
“The cost of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of doing something. We must change our unmerited circumstances and harsh realities of joblessness, hopelessness and poverty. That work begins today by fixing our politics and governance deficits.”
MDC has refused to join the current dialogue between Mnangagwa and leaders of political parties that took part in last year’s elections, demanding a neutral convenor for the talks.
Meanwhile, Chamisa said his party was worried about the plight of war veterans whom he said were wallowing in poverty.
He said the war veterans’ vision for a free Zimbabwe had been betrayed by “selfish and greedy politicians”.
“Their plight is of immediate national concern,” Chamisa said.
“It is heart-wrenching to note that war veterans who were at the centre of the struggle for our independence are living under squalid conditions and without any social or economic support from the state.”
The war veterans say the government is neglecting them and want their pensions reviewed.
“The men and women who fought for the independence of this country from colonial rule had a vision and aspirations. Sadly that vision has being shattered by criminal behaviour and selfish, personal pursuits for wealth,” Chamisa added.
“The vision that has been set by our forefathers and yet betrayed by their successors is not far beyond our reach, but only if we start working now.”
He said an MDC government would ensure that the whole of August would be set aside to celebrate the former freedom fighters.