FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has abandoned his neutral technocrat tag and is now fully embedded in Zanu PF, but his bid to grow his political clout suffered after he was defeated in the Cowdry Park constituency parliamentary elections by Citizens Coalition for Change’s candidate Pashor Sibanda.
This is despite committing a lot of funds in the campaign which saw him drilling boreholes and tarring roads among other things. Ncube’s departure from being a neutral technocrat gathered steam when he threw his name in the race to contest in the Zanu PF primary elections in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.
The development came after Ncube was elected a Zanu PF central committee member last October, signaling an intention to grow his political reputation while entrenching himself in the party The central committee is Zanu PF’s highest decision-making body outside congress.
How things change. When Ncube was appointed into cabinet as Finance Minister in 2018, he projected himself as a technocrat who was committed to tackling his tough mission and gave an impression that he was going to be far from intricate Zanu PF politics.
Many Zimbabweans at home and abroad therefore gave a nod of approval, considering that he was held in high esteem. He was seen as the man who could rescue the economy which was on a downward spiral, given his massive leadership experience, reputation and academic qualifications.
Besides being a holder of a PhD in mathematical finance from the prestigious Cambridge University, Ncube has also worked at the very top level of a number of prestigious institutions. He was previously chief economist and vice-president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
As chief economist at the AfDB, he oversaw the economics complex, which was focused on the process of knowledge management and economic research.
As part of his duties, Ncube supervised the Development Research Department, Statistics Department and African Development Institute. As a vice-president of the AfDB, Ncube was a member of the senior management team of the bank and contributed to its general strategic direction.
Before his appointment as Finance minister, he was managing director and head of Quantum Global Research Lab in Switzerland, which is part of Quantum Global Group, the largest private equity group dedicated to investing in Africa.
He was also previously a regulator and a board member of the South African Financial Services Board (FSB), which regulates non-bank financial institutions in South Africa.
Ncube was also chairperson of the board of the African Economic Research Consortium, chairperson of the Global Agenda Council on “Poverty and Economic Development” (World Economic Forum) and a governor of the African Capacity Building Foundation.
He is also a distinguished academic as a professor at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom where he taught economic development, public policy and doing business in Africa, at both the SAID Business School, and Blavatnik School of Government.
He was also a distinguished professor of banking and financial markets at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.
His curriculum vitae therefore is not just impressive but reflects his lofty status in the academy.
However, the bid to win Cowdray Park proved to be too big although, he put together a good campaign.
The constituency was won in 2018 elections by the MDC Alliance’s Stella Ndlovu while it was still Luveve-Cowdry Park but after this year’s delimitation exercise, it was split into two constituencies- Luveve and Cowdry Park.
In June 2019, Ncube was said to be in the run to represent Zanu PF in the Lupane East by elections that had been set for 3 August and it set indications of his intentions to join full scale party politics.
Ncube is also among senior government officials and diplomats who last year seized the Midlands Black Rhino Conservancy, in a typical primitive wealth accumulation style.
Mnangagwa’s brother Patrick is also among the invaders. The conservancy is a high protected area because it is a territory of the endangered species.