HomeLocal NewsNhema comments ‘untrue, patronising, insulting’

Nhema comments ‘untrue, patronising, insulting’

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Opinion leaders in Matabeleland have said Environment and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema’s sentiments that the people of Matabeleland were failing to take up opportunities only to complain when people from other regions seize them, were “untrue, patronising and insulting.”

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, civic society activist Dumisani Nkomo blasted Nhema.

“It is very wrong to say that the people in Matabeleland do not take up opportunities. I am aware of many entrepreneurs in Matabeleland who have tried in vain, people with innovative ideas and not just chicken projects,” Nkomo said.

“It would be wrong to blame the people of Matabeleland when the problem is in the structure, a centralised structure that keeps the people of Matabeleland on the margins. It is very unfortunate that such respectable ministers will stoop that low to join in the choir singing songs of discord against the people of Matabeleland.”

Speaking during a Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme strategic meeting in Lupane on Friday, Nhema said Matabeleland North in particular was the richest province in the country in terms of natural resources yet few people in the region were benefiting.

“When the land reform started, you did not come forward saying the exercise will not succeed,” he said. “I did not see anyone from Matabeleland North coming to Shurugwi looking for land. You were folding hands. You will later come to me mourning, son-in-law, your people have come to take our resources.

“At the National University of Science and Technology you are not there, you are also not there at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic in Gwanda, so where are you?”

Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic based at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CMRI) at the University of Westminster in London, castigated the minister for a “patronising attitude and complacency that allows him to utter such preposterous profanities with a straight face”.

“The system in Zimbabwe has become so tribalistic to the extent that its beneficiaries now think it is the way things should be,” he said.

“Honestly, Nhema does not even realise that if he refers to himself as our ‘son-in-law’ he indirectly is saying he is married to the Ndebele who are considered as the ‘other.’ That statement itself creates a social point of demarcation. If the people of Matabeleland were part of Zimbabwe, why would a minister include this notion of ‘othering’ in his discourse on development?”

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