When Mthuli Ncube was first appointed as the Finance and Development minister back in 2018 he was brought in as a technocrat. That means he was someone who was more of an expert than a politician. It made sense the economy was on the ropes and bringing in an expert made sense. It didn’t take him long to wreck public trust when he and his RBZ counterpart ordered the separation of “real” USD and RTGS accounts bringing about the fast depreciation of the local unit. Ever since then it seems he has become more and more political and recently he was even elected as the Zanu PF Provincial Secretary for Economic Affairs for the Bulawayo Province.

His forays into politics have made him start speaking like a politician. As the headline makes clear part of his latest utterances have him making promises to resuscitate Dunlop and NRZ both of which were big employers in Bulawayo’s industrial scene back in the good old days.

…We have companies like Dunlop and its offshoots and I am saying offshoots because there are other offshoots that need support.

Then there is also about supporting National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)’s recovery strategy. The list is long, let me not highlight all the companies but Bulawayo reindustriallisation as a whole has been discussed.

Mthuli Ncube.

Probably just industrial talk

Let’s be blunt if the Zimbabwean government had the capacity to resuscitate these said industries they had decades to do so. For Mthuli Ncube he has had until at least 2018. His new position in the party does not afford him any more power and authority to do this than he already had chairman. Why would he do this now what he could have done before and failed to do.

One requisite, in my opinion, for the successful resuscitation of industries giants like Dunlop, NRZ, CSC and many others is an acknowledgement of problems that resulted in them being run into the ground. The biggest problem in most cases is corruption. Instead, the government continues to hide behind sanctions even when corruption is the biggest issue. If the corruption factor is not resolved nothing will come out of this talk about resucitation.

In fact most attempts have also been hampered by, as you may have guessed, corruption. It’s the reason why most megadeals fail. Take for example NRZ. The government is not just looking for a financial partner. Rather those tasked with finding partners don’t just want a partner, they want a partner that will pay them kickbacks so they can “facilitate” the NRZ deal. Most investors have baulked and run for the hills.

I may be wrong and we will end up seeing some dramatic turn around but I seriously doubt it. Decades of experience has taught me politicians are liars and Zimbabwean ones are no different.