MP says ministers must not sign contracts alone


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Kwekwe Central Member of Parliament Masango Matambanadzo says government ministers must not sign contracts alone but must involve members of parliamentary committees and in cases of minerals, a Member of Parliament of the area concerned.

He said this would curb corruption because in some cases ministers gave away more concessions to investors than they revealed to the public.

“When a Minister is going to sign a contract and he goes alone. When he comes back, he does not explain to the country as to the contents of the contract or when the investment is going to be implemented. I think that is where corruption starts.

“When the Minister is going outside the country, he goes alone and if ever he has an entourage, he has a selection of handpicked individuals whom he takes for the signing abroad. We have created committees which have an oversight on these ministries. Therefore, what I would urge is that, when a Minister is going to sign an agreement outside, he should also involve members of the committee who are going to play the oversight role,” he said

Matambanadzo who prides himself in being the least educated legislator said he did not understand why there were so many directors who did not own the organisations or enterprises on which they were directors.

This only increased the number of people whose hands needed to be greased along the way.

“In the Ministry of Mines, we have the Minister, Deputy Minister, Permanent Secretary and the Director of Mines. All those posts are meant to be ways of siphoning money from the organisations. You are a director of a geological department and you are the owner of that organisation and yet, it is a ministry? There are so many directors in a ministry.

“We need to think outside the box and we need to streamline the operations of organisations because, when we look at councils, we have a lot of these people. Instead of building, we have these titles, because as far as I know, the director is the owner of that company and if I am a director, my wife is also a director. So my question is, in these organisations, why should we have so many directors and yet they are not owners of those institutions or organisations?”

 

Full contribution:

 

*MR. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion on corruption. So many terms were given to corruption, it was described as cancerous. These are words which show the worst extent that we find in corruption.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it gives me great pain that we now have problems as Members of Parliament, in getting fuels so that we can do our business in Parliament. All this is due to the corruption which is perpetrated by people who have been in places and some have left these places, these are the people who planted the seed of corruption.

I support this motion by looking for ways of eradicating corruption and nipping it in the bud so that we are not equated with other countries which are equally corrupt. We need to be in a Zimbabwe which is corruption free.

One of the ways that I think will be the best ways of combating corruption is that the Directors of these companies who are elected by ministers in particular parastatals; I think in the selection of these Directors/Chief Executive Officers, the minister should be assisted by hon. Members of Parliament or committees with oversight in the Ministries even in the appointment of the Boards because there is nepotism as the minister will appoint Board members from his constituency only.

Like if a Minister comes from Kwekwe, you find that the majority of the Board members will also come from Kwekwe. At times there are some people who will tell the new minister that his predecessor practiced nepotism, so do not be left behind, you should also practice nepotism and appoint people from your constituency only.

Therefore, I propose that Parliament should have a committee that assists in the appointment of Board members. We have many different committees at Parliament that is Committee on Mines, Foreign Affairs et cetera, these should be involved in the appointment of Chief Executive Officers, the Board members and Chairpersons to those Boards.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in my observance of corruption, even when investors come to Zimbabwe, be they whites who will be coming in from any other country whether it is Europe, South Africa, China or India; ZIM ASSET will never come to fruition because of what is happening. When these people come to this country and are running an organisation like ZIMASCO, for example, they recruit people from their own countries instead of employing locals so that they do some of the jobs which may be done by contractors on menial wages such as physical digging of chrome, but these people employ migrant workers from their countries.

We have engineers of Zimbabwean origin who are denied the chance to work in these mines, as contracts are awarded to migrant workers from their countries of origin. As a result, the money which was supposed to be earned and used in Zimbabwe is then siphoned back to those countries. These people not only bring in these migrant workers, but they also import their own equipment. At times when we see them coming from their countries, we are not able to tell that they are relatives but they justify their claims, yet this person will not be coming as an investor but as a general worker.

I will give an example, the chrome diggers are paid US$60.00 per tonne if they are Africans but these white migrant workers are given US$100.00 – US$200.00 per tonne. When the Zimbabwean worker queries the reason behind the discrepancy, the response is that the migrant worker is using machinery to extract the chrome. Therefore, he is bringing out more chrome yet you as a Zimbabwean African are using human beings who cannot dig as much as the machinery hence the discrepancy in the payment.

When losses are incurred in the diamond mining, the Zimbabwean miner pays US$60.00 per hour for hiring an excavator, whereas when it is hired by these foreigners, it is said he paid US$3000.00 per hour, which is false inflation of figures. As a result, this is also a way of siphoning money. They are saying they want to close down the diamond mines, this is all corruption. Whenever we have an investor coming into the country, he comes face to face with corruption.

Corruption is now very dangerous in this country. Therefore, I beg members of this august House that we were elected by the people of Zimbabwe so that we can solve this scourge of corruption which has brought all this suffering to the people of Zimbabwe. We are not supposed to come here and tell lies and make small talk but we should be serious on the eradication of corruption. I know this is a tough place.

When I came in as a new Member of Parliament, I used to have problems. Initially, when we were making our debates in this House, they were run along partisan lines, debates were run along ZANU PF or MDC lines but as of now, we are speaking in unison because we have seen that corruption is cancerous and should be eradicated and condemned. Mr. Speaker, I plead with you.

We also find that corruption has crept into hospitals. When I visited Kwekwe Hospital, what I came across was that these hospitals are solely funding themselves because they are saying the money which they use for running that place, is the money which is paid as fees by the patients. They say that there is an amount of money which is supposed to be given to the head office. That levy is supposed to be paid, whether they have any problems in the hospital, but that money is taken only by an individual who is the only one who receives that money. From my investigations, this levy is given to that individual.

In Kwekwe district, that fund is given to the provincial officer who is the one who is running the hospitals in that institution. He is running these hospitals as if they are private surgeries. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a sad state of affairs because, when we look at any company which had a general manager, when we grew up, the director was the owner of that company. When you look at what is happening now, we have different directors in councils and organisations. I discovered that this was only a way of corrupting each other because they will be giving each other money.

In the Ministry of Mines, we have the Minister, Deputy Minister, Permanent Secretary and the Director of Mines. All those posts are meant to be ways of siphoning money from the organisations. You are a director of a geological department and you are the owner of that organisation and yet, it is a ministry? There are so many directors in a ministry. We need to think outside the box and we need to streamline the operations of organisations because, when we look at councils, we have a lot of these people. Instead of building, we have these titles, because as far as I know, the director is the owner of that company and if I am a director, my wife is also a director. So my question is, in these organisations, why should we have so many directors and yet they are not owners of those institutions or organisations?

In my company, I am the director because I am the owner. My wife is the director because she is my wife, an ex-officio. There are some issues that I would like you to assist me Mr. Speaker Sir, because I am not well educated in these affairs. I am trying to get a way of putting myself across so that my fellow parliamentarians may understand me.

There are times whereby contracts are signed when we have investors who are coming from outside the country. They come to the ministry because they want to take part in our mining like in cases like the Zisco Steel, which I will give as an example.

When the contract is being signed, you find that the Minister signs. The foreign investors who comes in and also the different ministries, who are responsible for the input of this institution, like the Ministry of Industry and Manufacturing. When these people were signing, there was some fracas, because when one official signed, he seemed to have given the power to this investor to take up even areas which did not involve his Ministry. Because of the misunderstanding which ensued, it took a long time for this investor to implement the project.

There is another angle to this side. When a Minister is going to sign a contract and he goes alone. When he comes back, he does not explain to the country as to the contents of the contract or when the investment is going to be implemented. I think that is where corruption starts. When the Minister is going outside the country, he goes alone and if ever he has an entourage, he has a selection of handpicked individuals whom he takes for the signing abroad. We have created committees which have an oversight on these ministries. Therefore, what I would urge is that, when a Minister is going to sign an agreement outside, he should also involve members of the committee who are going to play the oversight role.

Also if it is in mining or any investment, the Member of Parliament for the area in which that workshop is located, should also be involved so that, he will know what will be going on and even the amount of ore in the ground will also be known how it is going to be partitioned. Even when it is shipped out, all that, the local Member of Parliament should know what is going on.

In ZISCO Steel, there is something which is coming up. You find out that there are cases of corruption which are happening. This is why people say, there is no smoke without fire. BIMCO is mining the ore. This was set long back and it has been working with ZISCO. As of now, we are told that the Indians who are coming into ZISCO Steel are saying they will be coming and make their contracts new with new workers. So what will happen with people from BIMCO? BIMCO has worked with the machines and they are working on the ground but, we understand that, BIMCO is going to be removed. BIMCO is an indigenous company and the Indians are going to come and they are going to be siphoning the foreign currency out of the country. We need to look at this issue.

Let me now turn onto ZIMASCO. In ZIMASCO, there is a plant which has been constructed. The plant is going to do mining in this dump which has been there for 100 years. This new company which is coming in will work it in two years. We will get so many tonnes of iron which will be found on this dump. I asked them as an individual and with my little education. I said, working on a dump which has been run for so many years, you want to run it for five years and where will your plant be working on? What will be happening to your plant after you have worked for five years? What will this plant be doing? We need to look at this issue because these are serious investors who are coming into the country and I think there is some stealing which is going on.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it pains me and it is very emotional. I know that we are wooing foreign investors to come and invest in Zimbabwe. We want them but we need to put security measures so that whenever we are making any contract with them, ministers should also work with us, like when we are talking of Chisumbanje where we are talking about ethanol.

They should talk to people who are in those areas because we have people who know the truth and decisions will be made on the information they should give us, but you will find that these Ministers are not giving us time or any chance to make contributions in contracts they will be making with new investors.

ZISCOSTEEL wanted to sell houses; these houses are accommodating workers but you find that this organisation started by first offering these houses to these workers. They gave them short notice to raise the funds; they only gave them two months. After two months the houses will be sold on auction and these workers will become homeless. We are talking of a new investor who has just come in and he is brought a plan which is going to work for five years and it is going to harvest 90 million tonnes of steel and yet he wants to sell off the houses which are meant for the workers and want to sell them in two months. The question is why and on what mission?

As I look into the study thoroughly, Mr. Speaker Sir, and this august House, there is corruption which is taking place. These are not only Zimbabweans who are doing this, that is why we find even our colleagues in the opposition are now speaking with one voice with us that we need to fight corruption to the end. Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution.

(2 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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