Opinion Piece By Gift Muroyiwa
The Book of Galatians says that “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” For many years, Vice President of the MDC Tendai Biti has spent a lot of time and energy to convince the public that he is a campaigner against wealth accumulation and corruption.
We witnessed in 2017 during his divorce proceedings that Mr Biti has accumulated a lot of wealth from unknown sources as his wife listed the many luxurious properties and vehicles he owns. On corruption, Mr Biti is even more of a hypocrite.
In his current position as Chairman of the Public Affairs Committee in Parliament, Mr Biti has used this role to start a crusade against everyone and anyone he doesn’t like, claiming they are involved in graft, corruption and the misuse of state funds.
However, it is Mr Biti who is actually under a current investigation by the anti-corruption commission. During his tenure as Finance Minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU), $30 million of state funds under his control was transferred to two banks that were known to be unstable and have since collapsed, meaning the money from the public purse has completely disappeared.
Nevertheless, this was not the first or probably the last time that Mr Biti has been implicated in corruption. There are many reports that when he was booted out of the MDC by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2014, Mr Biti had left the party in dire financial straits.
The late Mr Tsvangirai, at the time, called Mr Biti an “opportunist” and explaining his expulsion from the party, said: “He [Mr Biti] deceived us all. The man doesn’t believe in anything, except his power.”
It seems that Mr Biti’s thirst for power is actually damaging the MDC and its agenda. Every time Mr Biti opens his mouth, especially on corruption and wealth accumulation, it merely draws attention to his own sordid past on both issues.
This is worrying many people in the party who see Mr Biti as someone who had no regard in the past for the party or its interests, trying to unseat Mr Tsvangirai when he saw an opportunity and potentially trying to do the same with Nelson Chamisa in the future.
Furthermore, while Mr Biti is a very proud initiator of the American sanctions regime against Zimbabwe, in recent months and weeks, this has become an unnecessary burden on the party’s image.
While the MDC publicly dismisses those who claim that the sanctions are the root of the economic problems currently facing our nation, in private they are hearing that the sanctions are deeply unpopular even from within the party.
When Mr Biti makes comments about running to the US Congress, and says “we will make sure they don’t get a cent”, many see that as implicit threats against the Zimbabwean people and a desire to keep us in poverty as long as it serves his interests.
For far too long, Mr Biti has tried to fool us into thinking he is something he is not. As the Bible says, he is a deceiver for thinking like that. Nonetheless, this doesn’t just hurt everyone’s trust in Mr Biti, it is starting to tremendously harm the MDC as well.