Outspoken former deputy finance minister and career banker Terrence Mukupe has for the first time conceded that his former boss Patrick Chinamasa felt threatened by him in belief that he was after his job during his tenure in the Ministry of Finance
This has put to rest speculative reports that the two’s relationship was marred by traits of ‘professional jealousy’ that resulted in discordant policy announcements being made within the ministry.
Mukupe was responding to the Mail and Telegraph’s enquiry on any achievements he made in his short tenure as deputy minister of one of the ‘hot’ ministries in cabinet.
On his own admission, he failed to achieve anything in his role due to toxic politics that often exists among government ministers.
“Close to none (achievements) as it was clear that I was reporting to a Minister who didn’t like me and felt I was out to get his job and froze me out from day one. I did my best under the circumstances, gave my recommendations and am happy some of them are in line with what the current set up is carrying out,” Mukupe said speaking from his new base in Mozambique.
Mukupe, who still has passion for finance, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has to rise above mere rhetoric in engaging with the United States for the removal of sanctions while at the same time making root and branch changes at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe if the country’s economy is to claw out of the fire.
He urged for the acceleration of economic reforms that are necessary to right sizing the economy.
This comes as Zimbabwe is facing a wide array of economic challenges that include cash shortages and the proliferation of foreign exchange parallel market rates which are having a negative effect on prices.
“The current environment is still far from ideal. More is needed to be done to engage the Americans so as to lift ZIDERA. As long as that is in place I really feel for Prof (Finance minister Mthuli) Ncube,” Mukupe said before taking a dig at the central bank leadership.
“The other issue is we need to do away with the Soviet style economics whereby the central bank Governor is like a ‘mini god’ who decides who he wants to subsidise in the economy,” Mukupe said.
Mnangagwa and Ncube have maintained that the bond note and the United States dollar is at par but Mukupe insists that living in denial will not move the country forward.
“We have to recognize the parallel market because that is where 90 percent of the economy is functioning from. We just need to swallow our pride and get into bed with the Rand Union as a temporary stabilization measure. The other issue is that financial reforms should not be half hearted. The central bank and the finance ministry need a complete overhaul to boost business confidence,” he said.
The former Wall Street Banker served a turbulent nine months as Chinamasa’s deputy.
Asked on his relocation to Mozambique, he said:
“I’m a finance person first and foremost. With my partners we are in the process of setting up a Pan African investments firm anchored in Mozambique focusing on the logistics value chain from Beira into SADC. As for the politics of the land we achieved what we wanted, we have a new dispensation in place and the right blend of the technocrats and politicians.”
Never one to shy away from controversy, Mukupe’s short stint as deputy Finance minister saw him stir public outcry when he mocked MDC legislator Tendai Biti, over his alleged HIV status, during a live political debate on Star FM.
He was also arrested and fined for assaulting his ministry’s finance director, 58-year-old Ignatius Mvere, for allegedly giving him a “paltry $910 travel allowance”.
He was also in the eye of a storm when he was mentioned in a fuel scam, facing fraud charges and was in and out of court on answering to various lawsuits over thousands of dollars in unpaid debts.
He however insists: “Check most of those suits,they were malicious at best and have been cleared.”