A Cabinet minister has blamed tribalism for the problems that have plagued the disbursement of the $40 million fund for the revival of Bulawayo’s industries, saying the “evil phenomenon” retards development in any country.
Regional Integration and International Co-operation minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is also secretary-general of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, was addressing party supporters at Ntepe business centre in Gwanda on Saturday.
She said when discussions in Cabinet on revival of the dying firms in Bulawayo started there were some ministers who did not like the idea of setting aside money for the country’s second-largest city, but Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube fought tenaciously for the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf).
“Ncube fought for the money, but some ministers would even excuse themselves to go to the toilet to avoid contributing to the subject, making it a lone battle unless of course I intervened to assist my uncle,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who explained that although she is Shona, her mother is MaNcube from Matabeleland.
She said what was ironic was that while money for other things such as the construction of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s house or the Constituency Development Fund was available, government was dragging its feet on finance for Bulawayo’s revival.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said when Ncube was explaining to the businesspeople who attended the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Matabeleland Business Awards function in Bulawayo on the problems afflicting Dimaf, she could see the “evil hand of tribalism” as being the main cause of the delays in the disbursement of the funds.
“It’s tribalism, the thinking is Ndebeles should get nothing,” she said.
Of the $40 million that was to be disbursed to Bulawayo firms through CABS under the programme jointly sponsored by government and Old Mutual, only $3 million had reportedly been released by last month.
Under the loan package, government is supposed to provide $20 million and Old Mutual the same amount. Government is yet to deposit its share.