Former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti has come out all guns blazing against government’s decision to legalize the farming of marijuana saying Zimbabwe should start focusing on advancing technologies to capacitate industries rather than wasting energy on petty policies.
Biti was speaking during a 263Chat’s National Question live debate on Thursday where he trashed what he called government’s diversionary tactics and misplaced priorities.
“Serious countries are talking about Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 3D Printing, 5G Broadband, Cloud Computing, Green Energy etc. but all ED’s government has to talk about is mbanje farming,” said an emotional Tendai Biti.
“Besides leveraging on agriculture and the vast minerals we have, the nation needs to focus on developing technological infrastructure which will play a fundamental role in anchoring all our industries in the near future. Automation and digitization are taking over the production process but Mnangagwa’s government views licensing of mbanje farming as an economic achievement” added Biti.
He accused the ruling Zanu PF of seeking political relevance through introducing controversial policies some of which do not go through parliament.
Government has set a $50,000 as license fee for those willing to venture into cannabis (mbanje) farming with a reverse reduction of prison sentence for those caught illegally dealing with the substance.
Zimbabweans can now apply for licenses to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, as publicized by government in a legal notice, making Zimbabwe the second country in Africa to legalize cultivation of the plant.
However, the decision has attracted mixed feelings with various society leaders crying foul over the detrimental effects of allowing public farming of marijuana taking into account of how the substance is highly abused by youths in the streets.