Minister faces contempt of Parly charges

THE minister for Women’s Affairs Nyasha Chikwinya faces contempt of Parliament charges after she failed to comply with an order to issue a ministerial statement to correct the falsehoods she had presented regarding the recruitment of personnel for the proposed Women’s Bank.

Chikwinya told Parliament sometime in February that the Women’s Bank would be officially launched on March 5, nearly a decade after it was first mooted.

The minister went on to falsely inform the National Assembly that her ministry had since started to recruit personnel who would work in the bank after advertising the posts when in fact she had not.

This led Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda to direct her to issue a ministerial statement correcting the false information which until now she has not done.

However, on Wednesday, opposition legislators led by Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai (MDC) raised the red flag, on a point of privileges and immunities, calling on the minister to be charged in line with parliamentary procedures.
“Considering that three months ago as she was giving a response in this august House, Chikwinya changed her statements and furnished us with false information on the issue that they had started recruiting human resources for the Women’s Bank without having flighted the advert for the populace of Zimbabwe,” Zwizwai said.

The legislator reminded Mudenda that he had previously raised the issue and with him where the Speaker promised that he would go and listen to the recordings and also look at what was written in the Hansard.

“You came back and gave a ruling that the minister should give a ministerial statement to correct the matter because you had listened to the recording and seen the statement in the Hansard that these were some untruths.

“It is now three months before the minister has come to the august House to give the statement. We do not know whether the money is being utilised without the knowledge of the people. This shows that this House is not taken seriously, especially you as the presiding officer, and it is in contravention with the Standing Orders. My request is that, since the minister is not adhering to your ruling, serve her with contempt of Parliament,” Zwizwai said.

Chikwinya gave the false information after she had been asked MDC legislator Thokozani Khupe to explain when the bank for women’s projects will be launched.

“We have now set up a board for the Women’s Bank, and also appointed an acting chief executive officer.
“Ten million has been advanced to start operations of the bank. We now have banking halls and are training staff to man the banking halls,” Chikwinya said responded.

“We hope that on International Family Day on March 5, 2017 we should be launching the bank.”
MPs, however, raised concern that the staff already recruited might have been done so in a nepotistic manner since the posts at the bank were not advertised.

“How do you begin to train people for the jobs at the Women’s Bank without advertising the posts?” Harare Zwizwai asked.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said in his 2017 National Budget statement that $10 million will be availed to capitalise the bank.—Mugove Tafirenyika

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