Zvamaida Murwira: Senior Reporter
A parliamentary portfolio committee has slammed Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao for interfering with its operations after he stopped the Zimbabwe Youth Council from presenting itself to explain how it used 100 000 fuel litres it obtained from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) failed to receive evidence from ZYC last Thursday after Minister Zhuwao directed them not to attend ostensibly in order to prepare for the Junior Parliament that was scheduled to be held the following day.
The 100 000 litres of fuel given to ZYC forms part of an investigation by ZACC on Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Minister Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa for allegedly abusing $450 000 from Zimdef to boost their profiles in their respective constituencies.
ZACC has indicated that its investigations had revealed that the 100 000 litres of fuel did not reach the Zanu-PF Youth League, the intended beneficiary.
Last Thursday, Minister Zhuwao instead wrote to Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda to inform him ZYC could not attend the session as they were preparing for the Second Sitting of the 24th Junior Par- liament.
The letter was delivered about an hour later before the meeting was scheduled to start, leaving the committee with no option but to abort it.
In an interview, Cde Wadyajena accused Minister Zhuwao of frustrating the committee’s operations given that the two officials had mutually agreed for the day when an initial meeting two weeks ago failed to take off after the two came to the committee unprepared.
“Firstly, the procedure taken by Honourable Zhuwao was wrong. All correspondences are addressed to the Clerk of Parliament who is in charge of committees. Secondly, Junior Parliament event has obviously been on their calendar for a very long period and for the Minister to abort the meeting at the eleventh hour is the height of disrespect,” said Cde Wadyajena.
He said what raised eyebrows was that it had been more than a year since ZYC has been seeking postponement each time a date was agreed. The committee has since set December 19 for the rescheduled meeting.