Mthuli Ncube’s moment of truth

Source: Mthuli Ncube’s moment of truth – The Southern Eye

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s candidacy in Cowdray Park constituency in Bulawayo has revived debate on reports of systematic underdevelopment of the city and the whole Matabeleland region since 1980.

Ncube, a past chief economist and vice president of the African Development Bank, is contesting for the seat on a Zanu PF ticket.

Ncube was in self-imposed exile following the closure of his Barbican Bank in 2004 by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on charges of abusing depositor’s funds.

He founded the bank in 2003.

Ncube returned to the country in 2018 to assume the post of Finance minister.

He was initially tipped to contest in Lupane before settling for Cowdray Park, a sprawling suburb suffering from lack of social amenities and neglect as seen in the poor road network among other ills.

After he was confirmed as the Cowdray Park candidate, Ncube has invested in the suburb with a cocktail of development projects such as rehabilitating the poor road network.

He also even bought a house in the suburb to identify as a local.

Ncube is contesting against Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate, Pashor Raphael Sibanda, a former student activist with no resources to match the Finance minister’s well-resourced campaign.

Cowdray Park is one of Bulawayo’s largest high-density areas by population.

According to a 2002 population census, the suburb has a population of at least 75,070 people.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairperson, Ambrose Sibindi, said Ncube’s development projects showed that government has been systematically neglecting the region.

Sibindi said it did not make sense that one of Bulawayo’s poor suburbs was only enjoying development because of an election.

“What is interesting about these elections is that we are seeing the big guys in government coming down to the constituencies to contest the elections particularly Ncube who is eyeing Cowdray Park,” Sibindi said.

“The question is why now, why did he and government not do this (development projects) three, four, five years ago?

“We are saying as residents of Bulawayo we need that development everyday even outside the election season.”

Ibhetshu Likazulu coordinator, Mbuso Fuzwayo, weighed in saying Ncube might win the seat with residents expecting more development from him.

“He has a chance to win considering the resources that he has injected versus his opponent who has limited resources,” Fuzwayo said.

Political analyst, Effie Ncube, said Ncube was not guaranteed of victory

“While Ncube has the advantage of resources, Sibanda, on the other hand, has the advantage of an urban electorate that supports the opposition,” Ncube said. “ It will be a tight fight that may go down to the wire.”

A senior resident and educationist, Ben Moyo, said Zanu PF was desperate to win the seat.

“They (Zanu PF) are trying to use Ncube to regain their foothold and as an entry to the city,” Moyo said. “So the desperation is not that of Ncube, but of Zanu PF.

“But Ncube is not a politician he needs to be relevant to Zanu PF and to do that he needs a seat.”

The CCC aspiring candidate accused Ncube of vote-buying.

“That’s vote buying and that’s the rigging that we are always talking about and that’s why I said I am coming in to restore the dignity of our people,” Sibanda said,

 Recently, the Bulawayo City Council, which is led by the opposition, clashed with Ncube for not consulting the local authority before rehabilitating roads.