Ministers face truancy charges

HARARE - Parliament's portfolio committee chairman on indigenisation and economic development Justice Wadyajena has threatened to “institute contempt charges” on ministers dodging key committee meetings, and hearings.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News this week, the Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator said he was grossly unhappy with the non-appearance of ministers, including Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa and his Environment counterpart Savior Kasukuwere.

“In this Eighth Parliament… we have summoned minister Chidhakwa three times and the Environment minister Savior Kasukuwere, among others, to appear before this committee (but) they failed to do so,” Wadyajena said, further hinting that they would “not tire in their efforts to ensure the executive accounts for its actions”.

“We wanted them to brief us on the indigenisation policy, but… this (no-show) is not going to stop us in continuing to summon them,” he said, adding that he was unsure of why his fellow Zanu PF members of Parliament were reluctant to face his committee’s grilling.

However, parliamentary clerk Austin Zvoma has sprung to Kasukuwere’s defence, saying the committee “was not a court of law” and the Mount Darwin South legislator had “no mandate to speak to the indigenisation committee” since he had left that portfolio to Francis Nhema.

“He is no longer (the) minister of Indigenisation and (therefore) he cannot answer questions (on those issues),’’ the long-serving clerk said.

“His tenure as minister of Indigenisation ended when he was sworn in as a new minister for another ministry .Once your tenure as a minister has finished you are no longer competent to speak on that ministry’s operations,” Zvoma said.

The development comes as Kasukuwere and Wadyajena have had previous run-ins emanating from the latter’s quest to understand the issue of pledges made by various Chiadzwa gem miners to fund a $50 million community share trust, which the miners were rejecting or disowned.

So bad was the “confrontation” that it ended with nasty threats of “political and economic harm”.

 

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