Zimbabwe Minister may be charged with contempt of parliament for prevarication


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Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has ordered the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Nyasha Chikwinya, to give a comprehensive statement on the appointment of board and staff for the proposed Women’s Bank or face charges of contempt of Parliament.

Mudenda made the ruling yesterday after studying the question-and-answer session of 1 March, when the minister was asked by Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Thokozani Khupe what progress had been made for the operationalisation of the Women’s Bank.

She responded that the board and the chief executive officer had already been appointed. Training was now in progress for those who were going to man the bank.

Opposition legislator Murisi Zwizwai asked how this was possible when the posts had not been advertised. Chikwinya is reported to have replied that the board and the chief executive were responsible for the recruitment of staff.

But she seemed to change her statement when further probed by opposition chief whip Innocent Gonese leading the Speaker to request to study Hansard, Parliament’s official record.

Mudenda said yesterday: “After studying the Hansard and listening to the audio recording, it would appear that the Hon. Minister changed her initial response. Such action might be perceived as bordering on prevarication on the part of the Hon. Minister.

“Appendix C of the Schedule to the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act [Cap 2:08] cites prevarication as one of other contempts which are offences to Parliament.

“In light of the inconsistencies in the Hon. Minister’s response, the Chair rules that the Hon. Minister be given an opportunity to clarify her statements in a comprehensive ministerial statement, failure of which a charge of contempt of Parliament will be laid against the Hon. Minister.”

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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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