Monday, October 07, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) Biti loses Chatham House prize
This article was written by Our reporter on 13 September, at 05 : 10 AM

COMMENT - Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), is the British equivalent of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). - MrK

MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti, has failed to win the Royal Institute of International Affairs’ Chatham House Prize. Biti was nominated alongside former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Juan Manuel Santos, President, Republic of Colombia.

Despite the controversy he has caused in Zimbabwe with his brand of politics, Biti had been nominated for “stabilizing and de-politicizing the Zimbabwean economy and being instrumental in the re-engagement of Zimbabwe with the international community.”

“Tendai Biti has developed a reputation within the government of national unity for engaging constructively with all parties while driving a hard bargain on economic reform,” according to Chatham House.

Chatham House also incorrectly attributed the multi-currency policy to Biti. The policy was introduced by current Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa before the inclusive Government of 2008-13.

“He ended the period of hyper-inflation that had crippled the country, and his budget for 2013 has been praised for assisting the poor and empowering young people and women,” said a report on the Chatham House website, without articulating how Biti did this.

Many critics in fact accused Biti for being anti-poor in his policies by advocating neo-liberal policies which wreaked havoc to Zimbabwe’s economy in the 1980s.

Biti’s tenure as Finance Minister was heralded as the worst tenure ever. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo writing in 2010 said Biti
exhibited “obvious inexperience and lack of professional grounding in the field” of economics and had “surprisingly and unwisely adopted a non-consultative ‘I know it all’ attitude which has alienated key economic players including pivotal bureaucrats in his ministry, not to mention other stakeholders in and outside the coalition Government.”

Hillary Clinton was nominated for “her impact on US and international diplomacy and for promoting education and rights for women and girls” while President Santos was nominated “for instigating the peace process to end the conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and for his leadership in realigning the regional and international response to the ‘war on drugs’.”

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