Harare – The MDC Alliance has dismissed telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa’s recent sentiments on the goodwill of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidency.
The party’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora told this publication on Wednesday that the recent endorsement of Mnangagwa was misplaced as the new regime has brought about no changes from former President Robert Mugabe’s era.
In a recent interview with CNBC Africa, the founder of Econet described Mnangagwa as “sincere” saying he felt the recent political changes were “real.”
Mwonzora said although it was Masiyiwa’s right to have his own opinion, but the billionaire was wrong.
“That is Masiyiwa’s opinion regarding the presidency of Mnanagagwa and it is his democratic right, (though) we do not think that he is correct.
“We think that Mnangagwa very much represents the old dispensation. We see no difference between the present Zanu PF led by Mnangagwa and the Zanu PF led by Mugabe,” Mwonzora said.
Asked on Masiyiwa’s call for the removal of sanctions, Mwonzora since they were no longer justified his party has never supported sanctions but there was need for “key reforms”.
“We have never supported sanctions, we are saying that Zimbabwe must engage with the international community and that engagement must involve Zimbabwe making tangible movement towards social economic and political reforms.
“For example, it must remove selective application of the law, it must remove militarisation of key State institutions and there must be truly free and fair elections,” he said.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said criticism of Masiyiwa’s call to lift sanctions was unwarranted as he has a history of being apolitical and is a reputable businessman both locally and internationally .
“I think he is sincere because as a businessman he has seen the implications, the calamity that the United States slapped sanctions have on Zimbabwe, so one way or the other it is a plus, in as much as the much needed legitimacy as far as Mnangagwa is concerned and that Strive is apolitical, he is a voice of reason and he is somebody the international community Americans included respect so much.”
Rusero said Masiyiwa’s backing was important especially regarding the current Zimbabwe socio-economic climate and relationship with Bretton Woods institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Look at the Cholera issue, look at Zimbabwe’s inability to borrow right now, Zimbabwe is struggling to have credit lines from international monetary institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, America is a major reason as it is the biggest funder to [their] budgets.
“So one way or another he is talking from passionate patriotic philanthropist point of view and more importantly from a business point of view where he is speaking sense that sanctions have done more harm than good for the common man in Zimbabwe,” said Rusero.
Rusero said removal of sanctions was for the “common good” and Masiyiwa’s statements were not in order to protect his own business interests in the country.
However, Rusero said it was” totally wrong” to tell the opposition to move on as suggested by Masiyiwa’s call to “stop the politicking and focus on rebuilding the country.”
“It is in the nature of a meaningful opposition, a serious opposition to keep the ruling party of the day on its toes and that is what the MDC is doing . Mere condemnation of the MDC in terms of its actions, values and beliefs is wrong,” he said.