Source: Parly committees get down to business | The Herald 20 OCT, 2018
Auxilia Katongomara Bulawayo Bureau
NEWLY-appointed parliamentary committees have got down to business with their major focus being the 2019 National Budget to be formulated and presented before year-end.
Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee last week appointed chairpersons of portfolio committees, Senate Thematic Committees and members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) who have started meeting as part of their oversight role. The august house will soon conduct the 2019 National Budget consultative meetings in line with the country’s constitution that requires participation of members of the public in budget formulation.
Chairperson of the committee on Primary and Secondary Education Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said her committee briefly met on Tuesday.
“As you know between now and December the committee will be dealing with issues to do with the budget and you know that we are facing major problems within our education sector.
“So the idea is to begin to say how we are going to get better funding this time around,” said Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
She said her committee plans to address some of the major challenges in the education sector, chief among them the issue of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland.
“One passion that I have, is to begin to think on this issue particularly in the southern region that a lot of people that have been raising around the language. Can we get teachers for example, that are conversant with the languages around that area?” she asked.
“You know that is one of the issues that I have raised before I sat on the committee and it’s clearly a subject that I want to raise with the committee and hope that the committee will understand that it is a priority issue but we will finalise on all the priority issues in our next meeting.”
Mr Tendai Biti, the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee said his committee provides oversight on public expenditure as defined in Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“We are going to be looking at government accounts; we are going to be looking at local authority accounts, parastatal accounts.
“We are going to focus on expenditure so the budget deficit is going to be a key focus of our attention. The domestic debt is going to be a key focus of our attention,” said Mr Biti.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement committee chairperson Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena said his committee was going to meet next week and he was determined to continue with his watchdog role despite plans to have him removed in the last session of the Eighth Parliament.
“Last Parliament I was reshuffled. I used to chair the Youth committee then towards the end of December after the new dispensation I was given the Lands , Agriculture committee. We didn’t do much because of how companies tried to influence my removal from the committee as they were claiming that I was going hard on them but they didn’t know that I was not going hard.
“So, whatever you do must be in the work plan especially companies doing Command Agriculture. They wanted to influence my removal but I was saved by His Excellency (President Mnangagwa). He said I cannot go anywhere as he was happy with my appointment and even up to now he is happy,” he said.
“As of last year, I can say we had too much interference from unscrupulous companies and it seems like they had an upper hand in Parliament. I don’t know who their point person was but in this Parliament, I hope and pray that does not happen again.
“The Speaker Advocate Mudenda is a firm man and I believe in his capabilities and I believe he won’t be swayed and I believe the committee will do justice, remember we are using tax payers’ money and we are answerable to the people of Zimbabwe regardless of political affiliation. So we will do our work”.