Parliamentarians gag media

HARARE - Journalists were this week denied entry into the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on industry and commerce public meeting that was hearing evidence from Ziscosteel management.

Scribes had been allowed to cover the presentation by Ziscosteel workers who narrated ordeals they are enduring because of the continued closure of the formerly giant steel mining company.

Legislators chose to slam the doors on journalists when it was time for management to talk.

Management at Ziscosteel, now called New Zimsteel and led by board chairman Nyasha Makuvise, felt the information they wanted to give the MPs was too sensitive for public consumption.

William Mutomba, Zanu PF MP for Buhera, chairs the committee that has failed to find solutions to the Ziscosteel saga despite having held several meetings with not only the management but also with relevant government officials such as Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube.

The absence of the media in the public hearing meetings was the third of its kind for the past four years.

Workers who are lying idle told the committee that their living conditions are appalling.

Benedict Moyo, chairperson of Zisco workers, told the committee how the 3 500 workers are failing to look after their families.

He said they are also failing to pay utility bills to the extent that some are now being dragged to court.

Willas Madzimure, deputy chairperson of the committee, told the Daily News that the committee ruled in favour of Makuvise’s request as he felt he was holding sensitive information.

“If the witness feels that he wants parliamentary protection he is entitled to it.

“But the chairperson has to hold a press conference and brief the media on what has been discussed, but it did not happen. However I don’t support the gagging of the media,” said Madzimure.

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