Director Ibbo Mandaza of the Harare-based think tank, Sapes Trust, on Tuesday called on President Robert Mugabe to retire as soon possible, saying this would create a platform to jump-start the country’s ailing economy.
Speaking at a meeting of civil society organizations, political parties and representatives of the international community, organized by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to find ways to address issues plaguing the country’s economy, Dr. Mandaza said Zimbabwe’s biggest problem is leadership.
He said once the leadership crisis issue is addressed, then everything else will fall into place.
Mandaza’s sentiments were echoed by MDC-T legislator for Warren Park, Elias Mudzuri, who also sits in the opposition party’s National Executive Committee.
But Zanu PF Central Committee member, Patrick Zhuwawo, also in attendance, said leadership change was not an option because President Mugabe recently got a fresh mandate to lead the country following last year’s disputed polls.
Although the MDC-T says it is the only viable option for the country, Zhuwawo said the opposition party is now finished.
Zhuwawo also said contrary to popular sentiments, there is no power tussle between vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as President Mugabe’s succession question rages on.
Mr. Mugabe, who prevaricates on the succession issue, recently called on his party’s structures to debate the succession issue.
Some members of civil society who attended the meeting also called for an end to corruption in the country.
Meanwhile, the EU’s top diplomat in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Del Arricia, said his bloc is ready to engage Zimbabwe.
Some economists blame Zimbabwe’s economic downturn on the land reform program of 2000 that displaced thousands of former white commercial farmers and their laborers.
They argue that since then the country’s economy has been tinkering on the brink with very little production in former commercial farmers.