Parly committees must wield power

HARARE - A Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED) managing director Davidson Mhaka has admitted, much to the chagrin of the parliamentary committee on Transport and Infrastructure, that his organisation was fleeced of $2,7m in a fuel deal gone bad. 

He also admitted that they used taxpayers’ money to pay a local company, First Oil, before they delivered the fuel.

A year later, the  CMED MD says they are yet to receive the fuel and are instituting criminal proceedings.

But the parliamentary committee is  not convinced. They think otherwise. Who can blame them?

Corruption in Zimbabwe is now endemic and many parastatals have been hauled over the coals for failing to account for taxpayers’ money.
President Robert Mugabe and his ministers have admitted there is rampant corruption. 

Scandal after scandal has surfaced over the past few months about executives paying themselves astronomic salaries at the expense of their clients and junior workers.
The wheels of justice seem to move ever  so slowly in dealing with officials involved.

Government seems uncertain where to start in tackling the scourge.

Some ministers like Local Government and Rural Development minister Ignatius Chombo have simply ignored the summons to appear before the parliamentary committee in charge of his ministry. How arrogant.

For years, the predominantly Zanu PF Parliament did not use parliamentary committees to bring their ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of parastatals to book.
They have been getting away “with it” for far too long to be bothered.

During the period of the coalition government, parliamentary portfolio committees gained some muscle although those summoned were uncooperative and simply did not answer questions to the committees’ satisfaction.

In a modern democracy, parliamentary committees wield much power and can summon whosoever they want to answer questions on issues of national interest whether form the public or private sector.

So far, there have been murmurs that private sector corruption must also be tackled but we are yet to see the parliamentary committee baring their teeth.

If Zimbabwe is to make government, parastatals and indeed company officials accountable for their actions, parliamentary committees must be given the “oomph” to grill officials brought before them on behalf of the public which is weighed down by the effects of corruption resulting in poor remuneration, poor services, a despicable road network, broken down equipment, no water and no electricity.

The buck has to stop somewhere. Parliamentary committees represent the people.

Comments (1)

Give former defanged parliamentary committees back their teeth..Let all board members inclusive of the MD be confirmed by a parliamentary committee doing the oversight on the parastatals..this is the only way to arrest corruption. Government should also speedily pass legislation that says no one is allowed to sit on more than 3 government paras..This nonsense has to end soon we have a country to rebuild..PURIZI

gutter poet - 4 March 2014

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