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Prof. Mthuli Ncube’s bid for Cowdray park seat sparks debate

Prof. Mthuli Ncube
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BULAWAYO – A debate has ensued about Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube’s electoral chances after he surfaced as a contender in the Zanu-PF primary elections, to represent the newly constituted Cowdray Park constituency.

Cowdray Park has one of the largest populations in Bulawayo and its creation as a constituency has incorporated Wards 15, Ward 28, formerly Luveve Constituency, plus Ward 6 of Bulawayo South Constituency.

The constituency is one of the seven constituencies that were reconfigured and renamed under the delimitation exercise along with Bulawayo North, Emakhandeni-Luveve Entumbane-Njube, Lobengula-Magwegwe, Mpopoma-Mzilikazi and Pelandaba-Tshabalala.

Prof Ncube was appointed as a technocrat when President Emmerson Mnangagwa rose to power in 2018 then last year in October, was elected into the Zanu-PF central committee becoming a full member of the ruling party.

Residents at Cowdray Park told CITE that, as many know, the area needed transformation, which meant having a leader who understood and could address their problems.

“We are using blair toilets that are used in rural areas, sewer is a problem and our sanitation is bad,” said a 40-year-old man who had just collected his national ID card at one of the documentation mobile centres in Vulindlela Primary.

“Other challenges are to do with electricity load-shedding, gas is expensive and we can’t chop firewood because the rangers chase after you. It’s hard and the economic hardships are affecting many people who rely on informal vending.”

When asked about the finance minister’s chances of electoral victory in Cowdray Park, the male resident said it depends on what he would do for the people.

“We have to ask him what he can do for us. What name has he built for himself and what reputation does he have? Will he manage to turn Cowdray Park into a modern city or is just another power-hungry politician?” he said.

A young man who referred to himself as Mjakajaka said although he does not believe in politics, Cowdray Park needed a leader who could modernise it.

“We know Ncube as the man in charge of the country’s money but we want to know if he can do this job. I’m sure he would not want to embarrass himself by getting into a position that he will fail to manage. As a finance minister, he knows for sure that many things need to be attended to. So if he fails to fix the country’s finances then also fails here at Cowdray Park, he will be a disappointment to himself,” he claimed.

Analysts argued that Prof Ncube needed a position to entrench himself in Zanu-PF, and his participation in this year’s election is a chance for him to prove his commitment to the party while also crowning his position as the minister who can address Zimbabwe’s economic woes.

“By entering the primary elections, Ncube confirms he has fully become involved in Zanu-PF politics,” said a political analyst, Bernard Magugu.

“Mthuli has always claimed Zimbabwe can become a middle-income country by 2023, and he sees himself contributing to that effort, with him in that government.”

Magugu further stated that because Cowdray Park already has a Zanu-PF councillor, the ruling party may have been motivated to have one of their “assets” run as a candidate there.

“Bulawayo has been an opposition stronghold since the emergence of the opposition but having a Zanu-PF councillor on the ground may have given the ruling party courage to put Mthuli there. Or perhaps Mthuli threw his name into the hat because he had been assured that Zanu-PF would win in 2023. Why jump into a burning pot unless you are certain it will not burn you?” he said.

“In any case, it remains to be seen during his campaigns how the electorate will receive him, especially after bearing the brunt of his policies. Who can forget his austerity measures that brought a lot of pain to the people?”

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