MP's branded car touches raw nerves

ONE does not need to look further than his several state-of-the-art personalised vehicles to establish that Gokwe Nembudziya Zanu PF legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena loves style.

But this time, Wadyajena’s “toys” have touched raw nerves.

The concerns have been raised by participants of a recent parliamentary portfolio committee hearing in which he was acting chairperson.

Participants accuse Wadyajena of arriving in a vehicle “sensationally” branded with Zanu PF symbols which many felt was a sign of intimidation.

At the same time, the parliamentarians from across the political divide say Wadyajena lacks maturity to chair a public hearing.

Efforts to get a comment from Wadyajena hit a brickwall.

“Call me after 30 minutes,” he said before switching off.

The chairperson for the portfolio committee on Youth did not respond to questions sent to him by the time of going to print.

Wadyajena was acting chairperson of the portfolio committee on Justice during a hearing on the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill at Cooksey hall in Chinhoyi last week when he closed the hearing after participants began to heckle.

It did not go down well with Members of Parliament who felt Wadyajena deprived people of their constitutional right to enforce public accountability, with some suggesting he should be sanctioned.

“All I can say is that it was down to the immaturity of the chairperson,” Zanu PF Mashonaland West senator Mike Musaka said.

The hearing was convened jointly by the portfolio committee on Justice and the Senate thematic committees on Peace and Security.

“There was nothing wrong. It’s quite normal in politics to heckle each other… and anybody who perceived it any other way, I don’t agree…I put it down to the immaturity of the chairperson.

“He starts off by provoking violence, threatening to arrest, it was incompetence of the chairperson,” he added.
Participants at the hearing also accused Wadyajena of arriving at the public hearing in a vehicle “sensationally” branded with Zanu PF symbols which many felt was a sign of intimidation.

“He was driving around in a conspicuously and sensationally branded car,” said Pride Mungwari.
“So the first thing you saw when you got to the hall was a loud Zanu PF branded Toyota V8 and you get inside and the person who is chairing is the owner of that car. Not only is that intimidation but people who come to the hearing end up thinking it’s party politics when it’s a national process. This NPRC Bill is sensitive and needs to be treated as such,” he added.

Wadyajena’s actions are against parliamentary standing orders that prohibit political party regalia at public hearings.

MDC Midlands senator Morgan Komichi also weighed in, slamming Wadyajena for “prematurely ending the hearing”.

Komichi, however, admitted that there was commotion but maintained that there was no threat of violence.
“It was a well calculated move,” Komichi said.

“You find that there are some MPs who connive with members of their political parties to disrupt public hearings…I was disheartened by the way Wadyajena handled the hearing in Chinhoyi.”

Former chairperson of the committee and MDC MP for Harare West constituency Jessie Majome said Wadyajena set the tone for a disrupted hearing when he “upset the crowd” by proclaiming threats of arrest when he was introducing himself.

“What I have noticed is that there seems to be a tug of war within Zanu PF on who should be the chairperson,” Majome said.

“My biggest concern is that is that bills are not easily understood by the public. Not many people religiously read the Government Gazette where bills are made public…even the language contained in the bills is not when I was chairperson I would try summarise to the public before each hearing but my concern is that that is no longer happening.” —Farayi Machamire

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