Source: Mudenda threatens to charge minister – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 1, 2017
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has threatened to charge Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya with contempt of Parliament for allegedly avoiding to respond to questions posed by MPs.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mudenda told the National Assembly on Thursday that Chikwinya should prove to the House why she should not be charged with contempt of Parliament after she allegedly evaded responding to questions from MDC-T MPs on the establishment of the Women’ Bank.
Mudenda said on March 1, Chikwinya, in response to a question from MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe on the Women’s Bank, said there was now a board in place for the financial institution with an acting chief executive officer.
Chikwinya also claimed the financial institution now had banking halls, while training of staff members was now in progress.
When asked by Murisi Zvizwai on how that was possible when the vacant positions in the said bank had not been advertised, Chikwinya said board members and the chief executive officer were responsible for the recruitment and that it was not the duty of government to do that.
“Upon further probing by honourable (Innocent) Gonese on the process and procedure used to recruit those who were undergoing training and also how the board members were recruited, the honourable minister stated that, ‘they are in the process’. If they are in the process, there are procedures that they are supposed to take,” Mudenda said.
He said from Chikwinya’s response, government was not being truthful and the minister had given conflicting statements on the matter.
“The response given did not go down well with some honourable members who felt that the honourable minister had given conflicting statements to the House and also evaded the actual question asked on how the staff being trained was recruited without following due process, whereupon the Chair undertook to make a ruling after studying the verbatim report of the honourable minister’s reply,” Mudenda said.
He said after studying the Hansard and listening to the audio recording, it would appear that the honourable minister changed her initial response.
“Such action might be perceived as bordering on prevarication on the part of the honourable 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,” the Speaker said.
“In light of the inconsistencies in the honourable minister’s response, the Chair rules that the honourable 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 honourable minister.”
Anyone found guilty of contempt of Parliament may be fined.
Government has been pushing for the establishment of a Woman’s Bank to help in the establishment of business by the same and ironically, a male, Matthews Kunaka, was appointed as the board chair.
The envisaged Women’s Bank is meant to address women’s access to credit.