Minister, SPB chair face Parly rap

30 Jul, 2015 - 00:07 0 Views
Minister, SPB chair face Parly rap

The Herald

Kasukuwere SaviourLloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and State Procurement Board chairperson Mr Charles Kuwaza could face contempt of Parliament charges after portfolio committees accused them of demeaning and putting the Legislature into disrepute. The two were reported in the National Assembly yesterday with the portfolio committees on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and the one on Mines and Energy imploring Parliament to charge them.

National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda is expected to make a ruling on the matter in due course.

The two committees are led by Zanu-PF MPs for Gokwe-Nembudziya and Gutu Central Cdes Justice Mayor Wadyajena and Lovemore Matuke respectively.

In his report, Cde Wadyajena said they summoned Minister Kasukuwere to explain the circumstances surrounding the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust given that he presided over the establishment of the Trust in 2012 as Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.

He said their summoning of Minister Kasukuwere was inspired by the fact that diamond mining companies expressed ignorance to the establishment of the Trust.

“As the oral evidence proceeded and Members requesting further clarification on what the Minister had presented in relation to evidence obtained before, the Minister became impatient and started making verbal attacks on the Chairperson of the Committee,” said Cde Wadyajena.

“He said the Chairperson was abusing his position as the Chair to fight personal wars with him. The Minister alleged that, ‘I think this is a big witch-hunt, a misplaced one. I don’t think it’s the Committee but I must say it is yourself, Mr Chairman and at a personal level . . . Mr. Chairman you have been very careless. I have recordings of your own discussions with journalists’.”

Cde Wadyajena said Minister Kasukuwere also alleged to be in possession of audio and video clips of his interaction with journalists.

“He went on to warn the Chair that, ‘this animal is too big for you to hunt. It might turn back and hunt you. In a small way, Mr. Chairman, you have been using rekeni (catapult) to shoot an elephant’ adding that the Chairperson would lose the fight,” he said.

Cde Wadyajena said the effect of Minister Kasukwere’s conduct was that the committee particularly its chairperson would be intimidated

“This puts the work of the Committee in disrepute. By also alleging that the Minister was an elephant being hunted with catapults that the big animal will turn back and hunt the Chairperson who will lose the fight, it is submitted that the utterances have the effect of instilling fear into the Committee as well as demean the stature of the Committee and Parliament as a revered institution, one of the three arms of the State.

“The Hon. Minister also claimed to have recordings of the Chairman’s conversations. It can only be assumed that the very conduct of recording the Chairman’s private conversations is not only criminal and unlawful, but it is also patently unconstitutional,” said Cde Wadyajena.

He said there was a possibility of contravention of the provisions of Priviledges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Chapter 2:08).

“In view of the foregoing, the Committee does hereby present this Report in terms of Select Committee Rule No. 11.

“It is the Committee’s view that the following sections of the Schedule to the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act were violated; Prevarication or other misconduct as a witness before Parliament or a committee; and making any oral or written threat to a member or challenging him to fight on account of his conduct in Parliament or a committee.

“Accordingly, the Committee hereby reports the matter to the House and pray that a Privileges Committee be appointed to investigate the alleged breaches by Honourable Minister Kasukuwere,” said Cde Wadyajena.

Cde Matuke also presented his report on Mr Kuwaza accusing him of failing to provide answers to questions that were sent to him by the committee despite being given more time.

“Members of the committee took turns to impress upon Mr Kuwaza that it was important for him to provide answers that had been lawfully posed.

“All the efforts by Members were in vain as Mr Kuwaza became visibly abusive and at one point suggested that there was no order in the committee.

“The conduct by Mr Kuwaza has the potential to impair and undermine the role and authority of Parliament in general and the work of the committee in particular,” said Cde Matuke.

He said there was a possibility that Mr Kuwaza could have acted in contempt of Parliament by failing to answer lawful questions as well as suggesting that the committee was disorganised.

“Mr Kuwaza’s arrogance, misrepresentation and refusal to provide responses directly impaired the work of the committee in the discharge of its Constitutional mandate.

“In view of the foregoing, the Committee does hereby present this report in terms of Select Committee Rule No. 11.

“It is the committee’s view that the following provisions of the Schedule (Section 21) of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act were violated; refusing to be examined before or to answer any lawful and relevant questions put by Parliament or a committee and prevarication or other misconduct as a witness before Parliament or a committee.

“Accordingly, the committee hereby reports the matter to the House and prays that a Privileges Committee be appointed to investigate the alleged breaches,” said Cde Matuke.

Adv Mudenda said he would study the reports and rule on them in due course.

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