MDC-T/ZANU-F Legislators Ill-advised: Ncube

Last Tuesday ZANU-PF and MDC-T legislators ganged-up against Ncube, an in-law to South African president Jacob Zuma, and accused him of corruptly benefiting from the multi-million dollar project he said with Indian investors as the minister of Industry and Commerce to revive the ailing Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO).

The government signed the US$750 million deal a few years ago allowing Essar to take over beleaguered ZISCO in which the Indian firm assumed an 80 percent share-holding of NewZim Minerals with government of Zimbabwe taking up the remaining 20 percent.

But since the signing of the deal, the project to resuscitate ZISCO has been in limbo with accusations that the deal was not above board and was fraught with irregularities.

The legislators on Tuesday alleged Ncube was using proceeds from kick-backs from the Essar deal to bank-roll his party’s activities in and around the country, particularly in Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands.

But Ncube, who has been exonerated by President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet after on Tuesday it authorised him to proceed with the deal with the Indian investors despite flat opposition from his opponents, lashed out at his political foes.

Through his party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube, Ncube said on Friday his fellow parliamentarians were ‘misguided’ for recommending that government institute a probe into his alleged misconduct and corruption in the awarding of the Essar deal.

“It is not only nonsensical, false, defamatory, scandalous and malicious but a desperate act by those who have been out thought, out organised and out articulated and are now resorting to unorthodox means as they cannot stop the green machine,” said Dube, on behalf of his boss.

Green machine refers to the colours of the party which split from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s formation of the MDC in 2005.

Dube added that the MDC wanted to state it clearly that Ncube, like all other party deployments to government, has discharged his duties with the highest level of prudency and honesty.

“Our political party always demands the most stringent adherence to best practice and regard for transparency in the discharge of public affairs from all its officials in all arms of government.

 We wish to unequivocally and without any prevarication place it on record that the accusations being leveled against Professor Ncube are not only spurious but pejorative and profane, sorely aimed at injuring both the person and political credibility of Prof. Ncube as both a public servant and leader of the MDC,” he said.

Dube said his party believed that parliamentary oversight should not be used as a forum for displaying petty jealousies, adding that parliamentary privilege should not be abused to make unsubstantiated accusations against as Essar.

The MDC spokesperson warned parliamentarians that moved the motion to probe Ncube from making reckless and careless statement under the disguise of parliamentary privileges.

It is understood the Indian investors wanted to wrinkle out of the deal due to bickering and squabbling in the coalition government over the project.