Is Mthuli Ncube a fraud and political moron?


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Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has been described as a fraud and “political moron” and ironically by a fellow academic at a university where Mthuli Ncube once taught.

Patrick Bond of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where Ncube once taught, blasted Ncube in an article published by Counterpunch, entitled: Zimbabwe’s Capitalist Crisis: Finance Minister a ‘Fraud’ and ‘Political Moron,’ as Army Represses Protests

The criticism was centred on Ncube’s comments in interviews he made with various television channels at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week.

Ncube who was described in the article as exhibiting a sometimes startling self-confidence, and is entirely comfortable within the circuits of world elites, is smooth and at first blush, persuasive, had interviews with CNN, Bloomberg television, South African Broadcasting Corporation and ENCA.

He was roundly condemned for saying that the anti-government protests of 14-16 January in which several people were killed when the military cracked down on the violent protesters were “actually a sign that the government is open”.

Ncube was accused of being overly optimistic when he said Zimbabwe will reduce inflation, now at 42 percent, to single digit level by the end of the year and the budget deficit to single digit as well.

He also said Zimbabwe will have its own currency by the end of the year.

Bond said Ncube has made three most spectacular mistakes before.

“First, founding and chairing the Harare Barbican Bank, which launched in mid-2003 but then failed to meet obligations to the country’s clearance system within seven months, leading to expulsion. Two months later it was declared insolvent, as its regulator at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe explained, due to ‘serious liquidity problems as a result of imprudent banking behavior… [including] questionable cross-border foreign exchange activities which are yet to be cleared to the satisfaction of all parties’.

“A second mistake was serving well into 2018 as a top official at corruption-riddled financier Quantum Global, which ripped off Angola’s citizenry during his tenure there.

“Third, as chief economist at the (Western-dominated) African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2011 at the height of ‘Africa Rising’ hype, he declared the existence of a new ‘African middle class’ of more than 330 million people.”

Bond also chasticises Ncube for saying: “Zimbabwe is indeed the biggest buy in Africa right now on any asset. You talk about the rule of law. Let me tell you, this is about property rights at the end day. Property rights are secure in Zimbabwe… Clearly Zimbabwe is the biggest buy in Africa right now.”

He says Ncube utterly overstates budget cutbacks as a solution to all problems and says he erred by introducing foreign currency accounts in October.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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