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FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has distanced the Zanu PF led government from the perennially sorry state of Matebeleland provinces, insisting lack of development in the vast area had all to do with the country’s erstwhile white rulers.
Chinamasa was speaking in Parliament last week after opposition MDC MPs challenged him to explain why the country’s western region continued to lag behind in terms of development.
First to challenge the minister was Magwegwe MP, Anele Ndebele who accused President Robert Mugabe’s government of “pursuing a policy of frustrating development in Matebeleland”.
Ndebele accused Zanu PF of being at the centre of massive de-industrialisation in the region, particularly in Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub.
“Pursuant to that,” Ndebele added, amid cheers from fellow opposition MPs, “government remains adamant in the face of calls to revamp indigenisation laws that are still frustrating foreign direct investment into Matebeleland.”
Chinamasa in his response, saw no evil in Zanu PF’s conduct.
“The point, Madam Speaker, is that government treats all parts of Zimbabwe equally,” he said.
“When we deploy resources as government, we don’t discriminate against any part of the country.
“If anything, we may seek to favour those regions which have been marginalised in the past as part of affirmative action.”
But Chinamasa was not going to get away with it too easily, as he was immediately confronted with another question by Harare Central MP Murisi Zvidzai who demanded to know why “these places have been marginalised since Zanu PF has been in power since 1980”.
It is then that Chinamasa took the opportunity to exonerate Zanu PF from the mess, pinning everything on the country’s white oppressors.
“Zvidzai, you are fully aware that during the colonial era, there were some places which were inaccessible, which had no schools and now have schools, there were places with no clinics, and now have clinics, you know for certain that this was a white led government which had no concern for blacks,” Chinamasa said.
The Zanu PF loyalist was regurgitating President Mugabe’s 2012 denials his government was deliberately excluding Matebeleland from developmental projects.
Speaking at community share ownership trust scheme launch in Hwange, Mugabe said claims that Matabeleland was being “deliberately economically marginalised” were false.