EARLIER this year Finance minister Mthuli Ncube (my neighbour) visited us in Lupane, the provincial capital of Matabeleland North province.
BY Martin Stobert, Our Reader
Personally, I felt that he received a warm welcome he deserved not only because he is a prodigy of the district, but also because he is a senior government minister; itself an accolade for the district of Lupane.
The minister spent part of the morning familiarising himself with some projects that are underway in the town including the provincial referral hospital (or should I say its site).
Ncube gave an account of how his ministry was working tirelessly to resuscitate the economy of the country, making it abundantly clear that it was badly wounded and need urgent attention.
Ncube devoted his time to the issues of a government subsidy on maize meal as well as the price hikes that the government had effected.
The minister explained that the price increase had been necessitated by corruption in the distribution of the commodity.
This did not go down well with part of the audience. I must say, I would be lying to say that Ncube pleased many people, because he just didn’t. I think that some of our Cabinet ministers have a tendency of trifling serious issues, especially when the audience or gathering is a rural or semi-rural one.
They want to toy with us. Is it responsible for the honourable minister to tell starving communities that they cannot access their daily staple diet because prices have been hiked in order to combat corruption?
Given the fact that the minister was flanked by local MPs, a Cabinet minister, government officials, Zanu-PF officials and some members of the taskforce responsible for the allocation and distribution of the commodity including the local business sector leaders, one then wonders who among them could be corrupt to the extent of necessitating a price hike.
Certainly, the general public was not involved as they spent their time in queues or even sleeping on verandas of shops. What we see, invariably, are members of the taskforce and shop owners going in and coming out of the shops.
The next thing we see is the maize meal being sold in faraway places other than the local shops at twice the subsidised price! It’s either there is no corruption as such or if it is there, umthakathi usendlini.
It’s pointless consulting a witchdoctor just to confirm the self-evident. Also, the government must learn and learn quickly, that it never pays to make a poacher the game keeper.