via ‘Mutasa ill’ – Mnangagwa | The Zimbabwe Mail 28 February 2014
Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa is ill, Leader of Government business in Parliament Minister Emerson Mnangagwa has said.
The Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister disclosed this during a question and answer session in the National Assembly on Wednesday after MDC-T Chief Whip Mr Innocent Gonese complained that there were issues Minister Mutasa had not responded to on the Order Paper since December 2013.
“The Honourable Minister of State for Presidential Affairs is indisposed and the need to answer questions here is a matter uppermost in his mind when he becomes well,” said Minister Mnangagwa.
“For now, I would wish that the honourable member (Mr Gonese) sympathises with a colleague who is indisposed.”
Mr Gonese – who is Mutare Central MP – asked Minister Mutasa on December 4, 2013 to outline to Parliament the annual budget of the Presidential Scholarship Fund and if the money could not be used to upgrade infrastructure at local universities in order to arrest capital outflows.
He also wanted the minister to explain why the fund was administered outside the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, and to disclose the names of beneficiaries since inception.
Mutasa South MP Cde Irene Zindi (Zanu-PF) on February 5, 2014 asked Minister Mutasa to avail to the National Assembly salaries, allowances and fees paid to the top management, board of directors and chief executives of parastatals.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Mr Killian Mpingo risks being charged with contempt of Parliament for failing to attend a hearing where he was supposed to brief legislators on pertinent issues falling under his brief.
Mr Mpingo failed to appear before the Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security yesterday and instead sent Civil Protection Unit director Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira, thereby angering committee members.
Committee chairperson Senator Damien Mumvuri (Zanu-PF) sent Mr Pawadzyira back, saying they wanted an accounting officer.
“We might take this as a contempt of Parliament because we had specifically written to him. The issues we raised fall within his purview.
Mr Pawadyira was unable to respond to some of the issues when we invited him two weeks ago hence the decision to invite the accounting officer,” said Sen Mumvuri.
Issues the committee wanted Mr Mpingo to answer included the Harare City Council senior managers salary saga and the situation at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam where thousands of people were displaced by floods.
Council managers are awarding themselves hefty salaries while service delivery deteriorates. The committee also wanted to be briefed on how Government was dealing with families from the Tokwe-Mukosi area who received compensation for relocation to pave way for construction of the dam, but did not do so until they were forced to by flooding.
“It is quite a sizeable number of families who received compensation but did not leave, so we wanted an explanation on all these issues,” said Sen Mumvuri.
Mr Pawadyira said Mr Mpingo was attending another meeting.