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MDCs clash over Dimaf

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Officials from the two MDC parties in the inclusive government yesterday clashed at a public meeting in Bulawayo over the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf).

The MDC led by Welshman Ncube came out guns blazing, accusing MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti, who is the Finance minister, of “politically sabotaging” Dimaf by delaying to deposit the government’s $20 million into the fund because “he fears Ncube will get political mileage out of it”.

Speaking at a public accountability meeting organised by Habakkuk Trust, a civil society organisation, at a hotel in Bulawayo, MDC organising secretary Qhubani Moyo said Dimaf had been “politically sabotaged” by other political actors, especially the Finance minister.

“The way Biti presented this fund was in such a way as to belittle the role played by Ncube. Those that were there will remember how (Small and Medium Enterprises minister) Sithembiso Nyoni had to stand up and say it was unfair to belittle Ncube when this fund (Dimaf) had been fought for by him. All along he (Biti) misled the Cabinet that he had transferred the money, but it has come out that he only opened an account with (financial institution) CABS two weeks ago. The reason for this behaviour is nothing but political sabotage,” he said.

MDC-T Bulawayo province spokesperson Mandla Sibanda hit back and accused some political parties of trying to use the marginalisation of the region to gain votes.

“It’s common cause that a lot of political parties in the past have tried to look at the marginalisation of Matabeleland with the mind of getting political power.

“Let us stop politicising when we deal with these things. Let us do this for the benefit of our children. When you are a leader from this region and have a chance to lay your hands on industry or any part of it, make sure that this region benefits.

“As MDC-T, as a political party, we planned an all-stakeholders’ conference on the marginalisation of industries here. We compiled a report from that conference and took it to the Minister of Industry and Trade (Ncube). We didn’t care which part of the country he came from. Luckily, it was a person from Matabeleland,” he said.

Early this week, CABS managing director Kevin Terry told Parliament that contrary to assertions by lawyers, the fund was not meant to rescue distressed companies in Bulawayo and Matabeleland only and that “we do not yet have the government part of the agreement on $20 million and neither do we have a government guarantee or the agreement between the three parties”.

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