Zim polls: Biti warns Mugabe, Tsvangirai
30 October 2012, 17:24
Cape Town - Zimbabwe's finance minister Tendai Biti has urged President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to keep violence at bay ahead of forthcoming elections, warning that the economy would suffer terribly if there was a repeat of the 2008 bloodshed.
According to a DailyNews online report, Biti warned that Zimbabwe’s economy could decline by 8% per annum over the next five years if the country proceeded with a violent election year. He was speaking on the sidelines of a 2012 government workshop programme.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold presidential elections following the expiry of the fragile coalition government.
Biti's warning comes two weeks ahead of his 2013 budget presentation, which is likely to show a slowdown in economic growth due to political bickering.
Biti said political leaders should desist from violent election campaigns and called for "peaceful elections and incontestable election outcomes".
"What we are afraid of in Zimbabwe are elections that are to be held next year. And I am appealing to the principals to preach peace to their supporters during election campaigns," he said.
"If we continue with our political fighting we risk plunging the economy into an abyss. Studies have shown that all warring economies lose eight percent of their gross domestic product for the next five years."
Mugabe has repeatedly said elections should be held by March 2013, but Tsvangirai says while elections are definitely on next year, no actual date has been set.