MDC leader Welshman Ncube on Friday rejected a newspaper report claiming he described South African President Jacob Zuma’s mediation efforts in Zimbabwe as “disgraceful”.
“Anyone who knows me would not associate that type of language with me, even if I were talking about Robert Mugabe,” Ncube said in response to the Zimbabwe Independent’s lead story.
The Independent reported that Ncube “recently went public with his frustrations with South Africa’s facilitation efforts ...”
“South Africa’s conduct in respect to Zimbabwe is nothing short of disgraceful. South Africa rather than SADC should be blamed for the Zimbabwe crisis,” Ncube was quoted as saying.
The Independent claimed the newly-elected MDC leader made the comments on Twitter in a response to another Twitter user called ‘minyango’, adding that Ncube had confirmed posting it when contacted by phone last week.
But Ncube told New Zimbabwe.com in an interview Friday that the views attributed to him were “totally inconsistent” with his public stance on the Southern African Development Community’s three-year-old effort to end Zimbabwe’s decade-long political crisis, with Zuma as its pointman.
Ncube, who maintains accounts on both Facebook
, added: “I made no such comments on my Twitter. It’s a total fabrication.
“The journalist who wrote the story did not at any time ask me to confirm whether that statement came from me. He just asked me a broad question about whether I was happy with the manner in which SADC is handling the Zimbabwe situation.
“I told him, as I have said at every platform, that before we talk about foreigners, we have a primary responsibility to talk among each other and solve our problems as Zimbabweans.
“I went on to say we must stop running to foreigners and start looking at ourselves for being the ones who caused the crisis and the ones failing to talk to each other.
“Foreigners are exasperated by our behaviour of constantly running to them. That SADC are the guarantors of our power sharing arrangement is not a licence for us to relinquish responsibility as Zimbabwean leaders.
“Of course South Africa can do more, but we should be spending more time on ourselves.”
The colourful language attributed to Ncube would have been certainly surprising, given his personal relationship with Zuma. His son, Wesley, is married to Zuma's daughter, Gugulethu.
Ncube’s denials expose difficulties faced by journalists in reporting comments put online by public figures who compete with several other fake accounts in their names -- highlighted recently when ANC Youth League president Julius Malema threatened action.
On Facebook, there are SIX Welshman Ncube profiles but only one is legitimate, the MDC leader said. Twitter, however, only turned up a single account in Ncube’s name on Friday – his official account.