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Former Zimbabwe Finance Minister Makoni Puts Mugabe, Tsvangirai on Notice

Zimbabwe's former finance minister and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party leader, Simba Makoni, has warned President Robert Mugabe that he’s in for a rude awakening in the country's next elections.

The warning followed statements by President Mugabe repeating his long-held view that his former protégé has no support base in the country. Makoni also put Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC formation on notice.

Mr. Mugabe told a meeting of his ZANU-PF Central Committee recently that he once asked Makoni if he had any following, and replied that “people will support me because I’m Simba Makoni.”

But Makoni told VOA Mr. Mugabe was recalling a conversation he had with him four years ago when he had no party and no way of measuring the support he had in the country.

The opposition leader insists the situation is different today and that he has become a force to reckon with.

“It just shows that President Mugabe lives in the past,” said Makoni, adding that he is leading a young vibrant and growing party. Those dismissing him can only do so at their own peril, he said.

The former Southern Africa Development Community executive secretary also took a swipe at Mr. Tsvangirai, charging that he has lost touch since joining the coalition government.

“He had a strong support base but it’s weakening. So all political contestants at the next elections will have a rude awakening,” said Makoni. “We are bringing values and a vision that no other political player is offering in Zimbabwe at the moment.”

But political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya differed with Makoni. He said the former finance minister has failed to market his brand in the country.

“Simba Makoni’s organization has proven that it has no staying power because he has been having problems with his structures and office bearers,” said Ngwenya.

“I don’t even see the Mavambo brand anywhere. We only hear about Makoni saying something but there is nothing on the ground, not even any paraphernalia on that has Makoni. I think he is involved in self-delusion.”