By Leopold Munhende
OPPOSITION politician and former cabinet minister Elton Mangoma has come to the defence of under-fire finance minister Mthuli Ncube, saying the internationally respected economist is the right man for the job.
Mangoma, who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com at his Harare home, said that Ncube’s policies were the right tonic for Zimbabwe’s ailing economy but warned that would not work as government lacks the political will and capacity to stick to them.
Ncube, who was an academic at Oxford in the UK and has headed international financial institutions, was appointed Finance Minister by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in August.
The Treasury boss has however been under fire over policies which are blamed for basic commodity shortages, price hikes and mayhem on the currency markets.
“The Zimbabwean problem is politics,” said Mangoma, who was a presidential candidate in the disputed July 30 elections won by Mnangagwa.
“I must put it on record that I think Professor Mthuli Ncube is a very good candidate for the finance post. He knows what he is doing but, unfortunately, he is working for ED (Mnangagwa) rather than the people of Zimbabwe.
“… you can use your knowledge to help the people or to the help the oppressors; in this case the ED regime but he (Ncube) knows what he is doing, unfortunately it is not going to bring joy to the majority of the people.
Mangoma argued that the challenge Ncube would face in his attempt to fix the damage done over the past 38 years was over expenditure by the Zanu PF government.
“He will have to cut on the top brass’ expenditure, their travelling and all, which is the challenge Ncube will face,” said the former CODE coalition presidential candidate.
After introducing a 2 percent tax on all electronic transactions and announcing a plan to cut government’s wage bill from 70 percent to 50 percent Ncube has promised more austerity measures to raise revenues while reduce expenditure.
There has also been a move to deal with problems at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) with the suspension of top officials accused of corruption and illegal foreign currency dealings.
However, Mangoma argued that President Mnangagwa does not have the capacity to fight corruption as he was one of the most corrupt individuals in the country.
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