Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement is divided over the decision to inquire how the Reserve Bank distributed farm equipment and inputs under the farm mechanisation programme.
There are reports that some committee members want to settle personal scores by nailing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono.
This follows claims by committee chairperson Mr Moses Jiri (MDC-T) that his committee had been given approval by Parliament administration to probe Governor Gono.
Committee member and Zanu-PF legislator for Mhondoro-Ngezi Cde Bright Matonga said people were not supposed to abuse parliamentary privileges to settle personal scores.
He said some Zanu-PF legislators were going to protest against the inquiry because it was being done in bad faith.
However, Mr Jiri dismissed Cde Matonga’s claims saying parliamentary business had nothing to do with party politics and personal scores.
Cde Matonga said there was no clarification on why the committee wanted names of the beneficiaries.
“It appears that there are some members in the committee with ulterior motives who want to settle political and personal interests,” he said.
“We don’t want people to abuse parliamentary privileges by pursuing this when it is not in the interest of the committee.
“We are in the committee to represent Zanu-PF interests and the majority of Zanu-PF MPs are totally against abuse of parliamentary procedures by some people. We are going to protest against this.”
Cde Matonga said it was wrong for Mr Jiri to imply that the committee was going to probe Dr Gono.
He said the governor had not refused to disclose the names, but indicated to the committee that he wanted to clarify first if he could disclose the names without breaching banking laws.
Cde Matonga said Mr Jiri’s statement that the committee was going to probe Dr Gono was misleading.
Mr Jiri said Cde Matonga was out of order because he was not supposed to represent party interests in parliamentary business.
“He should know that there are no party interests in parliamentary business. According to our procedures, he is exposing himself that he is an interested person in this.
“We were all in the committee when we were told by counsel to Parliament and the assistant clerk that we could go ahead and inquire but he didn’t say anything. In fact, he asked the reasons why we wanted the names and he was asked back why we had been inquiring about the other activities but he couldn’t answer,” Mr Jiri said.
The hearing into the matter by the committee was aborted last month after Dr Gono declined to divulge information citing bank-client confidentiality.
Dr Gono’s decision not to furnish the committee with the information resulted in heated exchanges that saw committee member and Goromonzi North MP, Cde Paddy Zhanda (Zanu-PF), storming out of the meeting.
Matters came to a head when Cde Zhanda insisted that Dr Gono should produce names of people who benefitted from the mechanisation programme.
But the RBZ chief said he was not at liberty to do so.
He cited Section 60 (1) of the RBZ Act (Chapter 22:15) which forbids bank staff from disclosing information relating to affairs of the bank or a customer, unless lawfully required to do so by any court or under any enactment.