Ncube, Cross: Questions which Zimbabweans need answers for

editorial

WHEN former MDC secretary for economic affairs Eddie Cross announced that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was to introduce a new currency next month, it did not seem like it was just one of those comments by an ordinary economic analyst as the state now wants us to believe.

As observed by other commentators, Cross has always been one of Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s advisors, although he has no proven record of expertise in macro-economic management. It is also in the public domain that at one time the “Good Professor” tried to irregularly appoint Cross as his spokesperson.

In this regard, the minister’s unexplainable fixation with the former MDC stalwart, who is rumoured to have strong links in Washington’s corridors of power, is as astounding as it is strategically naive. This I leave here for now.

Coming to the subject of the day, it would, therefore, not be far-fetched to conclude that the source of what Cross announced is the officialdom. This takes us to the key questions regarding how much information on government operations and policies Cross has?

This becomes even more alarming when one imagines that there is a real possibility that Cross, whose has been one of Zanu PF’s fiercest critics, may also be having access to cabinet minutes and other state documents.

Furthermore, it comes as a no brainer to any patriotic citizen to decide for themselves whether by prematurely leaking sensitive issues regarding a national currency, Cross is acting in support of or against efforts to rescuscitate the economy.

Ncube has probably some explanations to do. Why would information on such a serious and sensitive matter be relayed to the nation by a private citizen when there are proper government channels?

Since the appointment of the minister, we have seen Cross giving insights into government policies even before announcements, lending credibility to the fact that he is the “de facto spokesperson” of Treasury.

This should be something of interest not only to the Public Service Commission, but also to the Presidency.If it is Ncube who leaked the information to Cross, then it raises questions of whether he is having other principals other than the President who trusted and appointed him? I ask because the trust being put in Cross by the minister is a not just a subject of debate but increasingly worrying.

He also recently appointed him to the Monetary Policy Committee and how he is going to handle confidential information at the central bank is anybody’s guess. The impact of his actions may create policy implementation challenges unless something is done to plug leaks that may arise from premature announcements.

My challenge to the minister is to clearly spell out Cross’ role in government and not seem to be delegating his role to a private citizen.

In yesteryear, Zanu PF accused Professor Jonathan Moyo of having infiltrated the party and the government to bring about “regime change” and he was labelled a weevil that needed Gamatox. Ncube also risks being labelled a weevil if people feel his intentions are not to transform the economy.

On the diplomatic front, the path taken by the minister in promoting the pro-Western economic agenda risks isolating Zimbabwe from our all-weather friends, China and Russia. In the event of an onslaught by the West, the country is unlikely to benefit from their veto powers at the United Nations Security Council.

The current pro-Western policy should, therefore, not be undertaken at the expense of our erstwhile friends as lessons from Libya show that the West cannot be fully trusted!

Recent events to ban importation of diamonds from Zimbabwe and the crafting of the Cecil Act, that will see a ban on the movement of trophies from Zimbabwe to America may be early indicators of where the relations with the West could be heading. The political leaders need to be wary of such developments and its potential implications, especially against the backdrop of accusations of human rights violations, which have now been documented by the UN.

Anthony Matutu.

Political scientist based in South Africa. He writes here in his personal capacity. — anthony.matutu@yahoo.com

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