I want out: Biti
HARARE – A day after a powerful explosion rocked his Harare home, a traumatised Finance Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday he was considering quitting the inclusive government.The tearful Biti also told the Daily News last night that he feared that the country’s partisan securocrats were out to kill him and his family. This followed the bomb attack on his Glen Lorne home early on Sunday morning.
“I thought I had seen the worst in my life, but quite clearly the people who bombed my residence had the intention to harm (me and my family). My biggest worry is that I am realising that they are not going to stop there. I have endangered my children and my whole family. As a result, I am asking myself if it is worth continuing.“Should I continue like this when my family is endangered? We have returned to the 2000 era where MDC offices were bombed, where the Daily News was bombed. I am sure that they will be back and intend more harm,” an emotional Biti told the Daily News in between sobs.
The usually unflappable MDC secretary general said while the news that he was considering quitting government would disappoint many people, he was just taking into consideration the welfare and safety of his family because the attack had “to be taken seriously”.
He believed that his principled opposition to Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe in the inclusive government had now resulted in there being “real threats” from the military – which he was obliged to take seriously.While police said last night said that they were still investigating the bombing, they defended the absence of a guard at Biti’s home, saying that they were severely crippled by a shortage of manpower.
“Several other ministers and deputy ministers, both MDC and Zanu PF, have not been getting guards because of shortages of manpower. There is nothing suspicious about the absence of a guard at Minister’s Biti home on the night of the alleged incident,” police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said.
But Biti, whom the police said should have personally made a swift report of the bomb attack to them, was adamant that the attack was a well-calculated assault on his life and family.
“When I joined the inclusive government, I knew I was going into a sewer. But even in a sewer there are rules. I had no doubt or illusions about Zanu PF. I have no doubt in my mind that the people who did this (throwing the bomb) intended to harm me and my family.“I can see the fingerprints of the state (in the attack), the military to be precise. Zanu PF has no capacity to do that, it’s the work of the military,” the distraught Biti said.
He said since the MDC was formed 12 years ago, there had been consistencies in the form of threats and attacks on him – leaving him to now seriously conclude that security agents wanted him dead.“There have been organised accidents, a bullet sent via mail, torture at Goromonzi by the CIO, a search at my other residence, beatings, treason charges and now this.
“Yes, I joined the struggle knowing that we are dealing with dangerous people, but when you attack a government minister because he is refusing to allow further destruction of the country you begin to the see the desperation and also dangerous signs such as this latest attack,” Biti said.
The sustained attacks on Biti are not random. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and a host of his senior party colleagues have also in the past been repeatedly targeted by security agents.On March 11, 2007, Tsvangirai was left for dead by men in military boots in Highfield during a prayer march organised by civic groups. He needed sutures to his damaged head.
In 2000, his aides — Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika — were torched to death in a gruesome murder allegedly by notorious CIO operative Joseph Mwale at Murambinda Growth Point in Buhera.Former High Court judge James Devitte described the two men’s murder as a “wicked act”.Surprisingly, Mwale — despite a warrant of arrest being issued by the High Court for his incarceration, is still a free man and roaming the streets at will.
The latest bomb attack at Biti’s home came days after Mugabe and military chiefs warned Biti to award civil servants salaries because their poor remuneration was now “a security threat”.The MDC believes that Biti is being targeted for his strong and principled stand against Mugabe and his hardliners.
On Saturday, MDC national organiser Nelson Chamisa told supporters at a rally in Highfield that Biti was being targeted for thwarting the orgy of looting in the country by top Zanu PF officials. “We have asked that money from the diamond fields go to treasury to improve the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe, but Zanu PF is reneging. We ask: Who is mining in Chiadzwa? All you hear are names — all Chinese companies.
“Our problem is we have mineral resources that we can use to improve salaries for civil servants, build schools, clinics, hospitals, roads and improve the general living conditions of the people, but Zanu PF does not intend to share the national cake.
“Hon Biti blocked the paths they used to siphon funds from government for personal use, so they are feeling the pinch and are furious at him and the MDC,” Chamisa added. Following the death of the policeman in Glen View, more than a dozen residents were arrested and charged with murder.
The MDC denies any involvement in the heinous crime and has dismissed the arrests as a ploy by the police and Zanu PF to portray it as a violent party.