Billions of dollars needed to rebuild Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, estimates the cost of rebuilding his country's ruined economy in the billions of dollars. ( dpa )
"Given the scale of the problems we'll need at least 5-10 billion dollars," the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and presidential candidate told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview in Johannesburg in February.
While there was "sufficient international goodwill to finance part of it," the rest had to come from Zimbabweans' own efforts, he said, observing: "The country is endowed with resources."
Tsvangirai, 56, is one of four presidential candidates in the March 29 polls in which 5.5 million Zimbabweans are registered to also choose a new parliament and local government.
The others are Zimbabwe's president of 28 years, 84-year-old Robert Mugabe, former finance minister Simba Makoni and little-known candidate Langton Towungana. Makoni and Towungana are running as independents.
Restoring the purchasing power of Zimbabwe's currency, which is trading at over 1 US dollar: 40 million Zimbabwe dollars on the black market, would be one of his priorities if he unseats Mugabe, Tsvangirai said.
Other elements of the MDC's economic plan included reparation for victims of the state's 2005 Murambatsvina (translates literally as "clean out the trash") urban demolition campaign which displaced hundreds of thousands of people along with measures to shore up the flailing pension system.
On Mugabe's disastrous land reform campaign, which has seen thousands of white farmers chased off their land without compensation by ruling party members and cronies since 2000, Tsvangirai ruled out a rollback.
"We don't have to reverse it. Nowhere in the world have these types of policies be reversed without jeopardizing or destroying the political stability of the country. What you need is to reform the land reform process so that you can then restore the ability of the country to feed itself."
Despite his belief that this month's elections will be rigged, Tsvangirai, who has led opposition to Mugabe's repressive policies for a decade, appealed to Zimbabweans to participate in the ballot.
"You need to come out and vote to show the world you still believe in democratic avenue for resolving the national crisis," he said. "In participating your vote will further delegitimize Mugabe."
While admitting the security situation "may actually degenerate" if the vote is rigged, the MDC opposes any recourse to violence because "that would far supersede the positive and patient way in which the democratic struggle has been executed so far."