Accessibility links

Zimbabwe President Mugabe Too Old to Contest Next Elections: Minister Biti

  • Gibbs Dube

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti says it will be tragic for President Robert Mugabe to take part in the country's next elections that will bring to an end the unstable coalition government formed in 2009 by ZANU-PF and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Addressing a meeting in Washington on Thursday, organized by non-profit organization, the Atlantic Council, Biti said it is time for the 88 year-old president to leave politics and start a new social life.

On indigenization, the firebrand MDC secretary-general said government needed to rethink the program which he charged was designed to benefit the black elite and not ordinary Zimbabweans.

Biti said he preferred an approach where Zimbabweans are granted banking licences as opposed to allowing a grab of foreign-owned financial institutions under the guise of indigenization.

He further noted that the country was struggling to clear its $9.1 billion debt and needed at least $14 billion for infrastructural development.

The country’s debtors, said Biti, included the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the Paris Club owed more than $5 million.

On diamond revenues, the finance minister said there is a shortfall of $92 million for the first quarter of the year though projections are that diamond sales will bring in $600 million this year.

Biti noted that Zimbabwe has a potential of becoming a $400 billion economy by the year 2040 given its vast mineral resources.