Welshman Ncube

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The Right Honourable
Welshman Ncube
Minister of Industry and Commerce
In office
13 February 2009 – 2013
Personal details
Born (1961-07-07) 7 July 1961 (age 55)
Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia
Political party Movement for Democratic Change – Ncube
Alma mater University of Zimbabwe

Welshman Ncube (born 7 July 1961) is a Zimbabwean politician, lawyer and businessman. He is the 3rd President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a practicing lawyer in the firm Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers[1] where he is the senior partner at their Bulawayo offices and runs a number of business ventures including a farm in the Midlands Province. He served as a member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe for 13 years, from 2000 -2013 and as Minister for Commerce and Industry from 2009 to 2013.

Ncube rose to prominence in 1992 when he became one of the youngest professors at the University of Zimbabwe at the age of 31. He emerged from the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Law as a Professor who had much promise and hope for Zimbabwe based on his good grasp of civil rights and the legal implications as he became one of the founding members of the MDC. His marvelous academic background, wide knowledge on public affairs and venerable leadership skills and experience would prove to be a viable tool in the new political dispensation bound to challenge the complacent Zanu PF.[2] His genius went unpublicized until the wiki leaks era, when one cable by former American Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell read “genius, who is highly divisive and must be taken off the stage”. He is one of the three tried with Treason for plotting to topple the government of Robert Mugabe. It later turned out that the charges were a well calculated plot designed by a team of international lobbyist led by the notorious former Isaeli spy Ari Ben-Manashe. [Flagrant peacock language appears throughout this introduction, can someone please fix or flag?]

Ncube was instrumental in the Global Political Agreement negotiations that led to the formation of the Zimbabwean Government of National Unity (GNU). In the GNU he became the Minister of Industry and Commerce, in that capacity he got to chair COMESA Council of Ministers.[3]

He is popular for being assertive, vocal and independent as he also at times does not want to claim all the credit on his chest for the achievements from his political camp. He would rather stand his own ground, express himself well and fight his own case even against the majority as long as he believes in the genuine validity and nobility of his cause. For such bravery and independence he has developed a decent following from various sectors of the population including youth voters and disgruntled citizens yearning for change. Ncube has been a man of his word and he stands by his principles regardless of circumstances, weather or company.

Early life[edit]

Welshman Ncube born on July 7, 1961 in Gwelo, Rhodesia, is the fourth born of a family of eight who grew up in the rural Maboleni district. He was raised by his peasant parents. The young Welshman excelled at school, “at no point do I remember Welshman getting anything wrong at school, he was a genius.” said one Albert Nkiwane who went to Primary School with him. He was an athlete who had a passion for short distance running and football. During his secondary schooling he was an exceptional footballer for Luveve Secondary School where he played for the first team. When he later went to Mzilikazi High School, by popular demand he was drafted into the first team under the then coach Ndumiso Gumede who is now the Chief executive Office[4] of the Country's Oldest football club Highlanders “At a tender age his ability to explain and dissect complex national problems was unbelievable” exclaimed his former teacher, who further said it was an obvious thing that he will one day be a politician.

Religion[edit]

The young Welshman grew up under the mentorship of a local Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Loyiso Ndlovu. As a result, he became a fervent follower of the teachings of Prophetess Ellen G White. At some point he was quoted saying “I did not know that there was any other Church excerpt for Seventh Day Adventist until I got to Bulawayo”. He is still a member of the Church, in 2012 when the President of Seventh Day Adventist Ted Wilson came to Zimbabwe, he was welcomed by Welshman Ncube at Bourbafields stadium in Bulawayo.

Education[edit]

Ncube did his High School Education at Mzilikazi High School in Bulawayo where he graduated with straight 'A's. He is a lawyer by training and holds the BL (Bachelor of Law), LLB (Bachelor of Laws) and MPhil (Law) degrees from the University of Zimbabwe. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, Norway.[5] His MPhil thesis was on Zimbabwean Customary Law focusing on Family Law.

Early Political Activity[edit]

Ncube served as the Youth Chairperson of Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), when he was still a student at the University of Zimbabwe. This was the time when he became acquainted with the teachings of Karl Marx, an 18th-century economics and political science scholar from Germany. Ncube subscribed to the teachings of Marx as explained by the former Soviet Union President Vladimir Lenin. His ideological inclination has however been diluted with some liberal beliefs and now believes more in a mixed market as opposed to Karl Marx’s centralized economy.

Academic History and Legal Practice[edit]

Welshman Ncube taught laws at the country’s biggest University, the University of Zimbabwe from 1985 until 2000. He became one of the youngest professors at the University of Zimbabwe at the age of 31 years. At UZ he also served in various key positions which included Proctor (1986- 1995); Senior Proctor (1996- 2000); Chairman Research Board, Chairman of the Department of Private Law(1988-1996); member of the Staff Development Committee(1989-1994) and Member of the UZ Senate (1988-2000).

During his academic years he was visiting professor and scholar to various universities which included the University of The North West (SA); University of Oslo (Norway) and Stanford University (USA). He was also an external examiner at several universities which included the University of Botswana (1997- 1999); University of Swaziland (1998-1999) and University of Namibia (1995- 2000). Ncube is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books and has also edited various books and journals. Ncube was a member of the Law Development Commission of Zimbabwe (1988-1996) and the Provisional Council of Legal Education (2003- 2008).

Welshman Ncube did various consultant work in a wide range of subject areas (Land law, children’s rights, constitutional law, natural resources and environmental law, Women’s law, Human rights law, Tax law and security legislation) and for a number of organisations, which included various government ministries, Red Barna, USAID and NORAD.

During his stay at UZ and afterwards he practiced as an advocate at the Advocates Chambers in Harare until he became a Minister of Government in February 2009.

After the dissolution of the Inclusive Government Ncube went back into legal practice, under Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers firm where he is the senior partner at the firm’s Bulawayo offices.

ZEXCOM Foundation Fund Limited Case[edit]

Original Article published on Nehanda Radio

In 2015 Ncube got involved in a case that concerned some War Veterans in Bulawayo. His client won the case which ultimately angered the War Veterans who resorted to physical violence wanting to assault Ncube. He had to sneak out of the Bulawayo High Court through a back door with the help of police following threats by the group of war veterans who had lost a case.

The group, comprising about 30 ZEXCOM Foundation Fund Limited shareholders, caused a scene at the High Court soon after they lost a case against Barbra Lunga, the company’s liquidator, in the fight over the control of company properties.

Ncube, who was representing Lunga in the matter, was whisked away by police as the irate war veterans stood in front of the court’s main entrance waiting for him to leave the building soon after Justice Francis Bere’s ruling.

The war veterans, led by Jona Gumo Mawire, Shelter Mpofu, Prince Nyepanai Guta and Tongai Samunda, thronged the High Court apparently hoping that the judgment would be in their favor.

“Soon after the ruling, we got out of the courtroom and they (war veterans) confronted me demanding that I give an explanation on why the judge ruled in my client’s favour. I told them to approach their lawyer who apparently had come to court unprepared.

“It looks like their lawyer from Harare wasn’t aware of the matter and was only told about it when he had actually visited Bulawayo for a different case at the Labour Court,” said Ncube.

The group stood outside the court’s main entrance chanting slogans denouncing Ncube and Lunga. “Welshman (Ncube) isn’t a professional lawyer. How can he allow a selfish and greedy person like Barbra to use him for her own ends? We demand to see him so that he explains to us his exact role, failure of which we’ll deal with him,” said the war veterans.

Ncube and his legal team left the court building after close to an hour holed up inside. They were later driven away in a tinted Isuzu pick up.[6]

Amendment 19[7][edit]

Amendment No 19 paved the way for the implementation of the power-sharing agreement which formed the Government of National Unity, made of ZANU PF, MDC-T and MDC

Welshman Ncube became the center of Amendment No 19 of the Previous Zimbabwean constitution. This Bill would amend the Constitution in the following principal respects: firstly, to substitute the Chapter on Citizenship by another Chapter making more comprehensive provision on the same topic; secondly, to make specific provision for the appointment and functions of the committee of Parliament known as the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders; thirdly, to provide that the appointment by the President of the chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and of the members of the Anti-Corruption Commission, must be done in consultation with the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders; fourthly to provide for the appointment and functions of a Zimbabwe Media Commission; and finally to make certain transitional amendments pursuant to the agreement between the Presidents of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on resolving the challenges facing Zimbabwe, which was signed in Harare on the 15th September, 2008.[8]

Background[edit]

After the 2002 disputed Presidential election SADC and the Commonwealth advised Zimbabwe to start a dialog to resolve the issues raised by the MDC. Ncube represented the MDC in the talks and Patrick Chinamasa represented ZANU PF. The talks were facilitated by former South African President Kgalema Montlanthe and Professor Adebayo Adedeji of Nigeria.[9]

Unreasonable as it seemed Ncube refused any settlement besides an Inclusive Government. The talks went on for years. When the MDC split, Tendai Biti joined the negotiations as the secretary general of the MDC-T. After the 2008 electoral crisis, the negotiations between Welshman Ncube, Patrick Chinamasa and Tendai Biti laid ground for new negotiations that formed the Inclusive Government.

Ncube together with Priscila Misihairabwi –Mushonga (representing MDC) Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa (ZANU PF) and Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) constituted the team of negotiators which negotiated the Global Political Agreement (GPA) under the auspices of the then South African President Thabo Mbeki who was the SADC appointed facilitator to the Zimbabwe political dialogue during 2008. The GPA gave birth to the Inclusive Government. The Inclusive Government became responsible for arresting what was then an unprecedented decline of both politics and economics in Zimbabwe.

Minister of Commerce and Industry[edit]

Welshman Ncube became the Minister of Industry and Commerce in the Inclusive Government from February 2009 to July 2013 and in that capacity chaired the COMESA Council of Ministers during 2010 and 2011. He was also the country’s representative at the EU ACP Council of Ministers during his stint in government. He also served in the SADC Council of Ministers and the SADC, COMESA and EAC Tripartite Council of Ministers.[10]

Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf)[edit]

In his capacity as the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Welshman Ncube sourced funds amounting to US$40 million from the international community to revitalize distressed companies in marginalized areas. CABS Bank was the government's disbursing partner, out of 60 companies that applied for the fund only 3 received the funding due to tight regulations and rules. Despite Ncube's directive to CABS bank to relax the rules and regulations so that more companies could benefit from the fund, CABS defied his directive and as a result the companies that applied and re-applied still did not meet the minimum requirements. The debate about the fund continued until CABS deposited the money back into government's bank account.[11]

Essar Deal[edit]

Welshman Ncube during the inclusive government, signed a deal with Essar that provided that the Indian steal giant would rehabilitate the existing obsolete equipment of Zisco Steel. Success of this deal meant that more than 500 people would be employed, however the deal never succeeded because for it to be a success, clearance and consent from other ministries was required. In fear that Welshman Ncube would be seen as the man with solutions to solve Zimbabwe's high unemployment rate, ZANU PF ministers refused to grant the need clearance. In 2015 the new Government reopened negotiations with Essar. Government and Essar Africa Holdings agreed on an improved Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel) deal, providing for a complete overhaul of the company’s equipment that has been lying idle for years.[12]

Political career[edit]

Before he was elected President of the MDC in 2011, Ncube had been its Secretary General from 2000 to 2011. He served as a Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe from June 2000 until July 2013. During his time in Parliament he served in various committees including the Standing Orders and Rules Committee and the Parliamentary Legal Committee- which he chaired between 2004 and 2008.

Ncube was very active in civic society where he was founder member of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights); Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights; the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) where he was the Spokesperson between 1998-2000; Women and Law in Southern Africa and Amani Trust.

When Ncube took over the leadership of the MDC in February 2011, his party nominated him to replace Professor Arthur Mutambara as the Deputy Minister in the Inclusive Government. Robert Mugabe refused to swear him in as Deputy Prime Minister.

Ncube ran as his party’s Presidential candidate in the highly disputed July 2013 harmonised elections and came third after Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.

While he has had various other detractors along the political path, he has stood his ground and pushed a tough agenda that many have started to emulate. Many will remember him for taking real goods ( and not trinkets) to various grassroots folks to create a sense of dignity and respect through a self-sustaining agenda. By pace-setting to give grassroots folks real stuff that matters, many have followed suit. As a seeming direct trigger by Ncube’s philanthropic moves, Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had to give out maize seed to his folks in Buhera as President Mugabe dished out the controversial $20 million seed package to various folks across the country. Through that pace-setting by Ncube, his fellow contestants were shaken by his realism and empathy. Initially they had to downplay his philanthropy through allegations of vote buying or questioning the sources of his resources as they attacked for being a flashing populist on a vote-buying spree. Realizing that he was determined with his agenda as he remained unshaken through withstanding the pressures of time, they first had to follow suit. He even went further to press hard on community service efforts as his party donated blankets, maize seed, bicycles and clothes while he also painted schools and donated other academic stuff in various regions. That pacesetting has reminded all political parties not to take the electorate for granted. His message has been that everyone must have a piece of the cake and the nation should equally enjoy its resources without a social pyramid of the top apex feasting as the wider base suffers.

Ncube has considerable influence in Zimbabwe and among fellow politicians. He is revered for his upfront attitude, candor, fast thinking, great negotiation skills and resourcefulness. His cabinet in the GNU fared really well with the likes of David Coltart who brought much-needed innovation to the Sports and Education Ministry. Using a peaceful non-violent approach to issues, many respect Ncube as a potentially great leader with lots of exposure and talent to turn things around and lead as a professional man who knows no prohibiting barriers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Law Society of Zimbabwe Bulawayo Area Voters Roll". Law Society of Zimbabwe. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Zimbabwe Presidential Candidates Individually Scrutinized: Welshman Ncube". 19 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Zimbabwe". Britannica. Britannica. Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede Archives - Southern Eye". Southern Eye. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  5. ^ Avelin, Andre Larsen (13 April 2005). "Gaining critical acclaim". Universitas. 
  6. ^ Mashudu, Netsianda (20 September 2015). "Welshman Ncube flees angry war vets". Nehanda Radio. 
  7. ^ "Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 19) Act, 2008.". International Labor Organisation. 2009-02-13. 
  8. ^ "Dissolution of parly sparks heated debate". NewsDay. 25 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Zvamaida, Murwira. "Bill sails through". The Herald. 
  10. ^ "Welshman Ncube makes it to cabinet". 14 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Three companies benefit from Dimaf". 16 February 2012. 
  12. ^ Mugove, Tafiranyika (3 July 2013). "Govt renegotiates Essar deal". Daily News.