via Mugabe, Jomic in spat over vehicles by Dumisani Sibanda for Newsday.co.zw September 16, 2013
THE Joint Implementation and Monitoring Committee (Jomic) has vowed to resist an order by President Robert Mugabe’s Office to hand over its fleet of vehicles to the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED), it has been learnt.
Jomic — which was set up under the 2008 Global Political Agreement, giving birth to the Government of National Unity consisting of Zanu PF and the two MDC parties, was mandated to ensure peaceful co-existence among political parties.
This came after Mugabe’s office yesterday ordered: “The office of the President and Cabinet notes the Joint Implementation and Monitoring Committee procured vehicles during its operations. Jomic was an agency whose role was to monitor the implementation measures to foster peaceful co-existence among political parties.
“Following the holding of the recent harmonised elections and the swearing in of the new government, the role of Jomic ceases. Accordingly, all those in possession of Jomic vehicles should surrender them, with all necessary tools to the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED) Depots throughout the country by not later than September 20, 2013 (Friday). CMED will provide a receipt voucher for the vehicle delivered.”
But, Jomic co-chairperson MDC-T deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma yesterday dismissed the order from the Office of the President and Cabinet as a “nullity”.
“Government is misdirecting itself by recalling those vehicles. What is happening is an abuse of power by government,” he said. “These are not government vehicles. They are Jomic cars and government is not Jomic. Jomic has its constitution and the body is made up of three political parties. The cars were bought by donors for Jomic not for government. There were eight to 10 vehicles that were from government, but about 40 cars were bought by donors.”
Mangoma said it was wrong for Mugabe’s Office to order “the immediate withdrawal of Jomic vehicles from current users”.
“Government is not the successor to Jomic,” he said. “This is another abuse of power by government. We will not allow such lawlessness. We will resist the order. Jomic must sit as a body and decide what to do with these cars.”
Mangoma, however, said Jomic was yet to give its final report on its observation of the recent general election.
“We were hoping to deal with the issue last week, but our colleague (Nicholas) Goche (Zanu PF Jomic co-chairperson) was not available. We are now hoping to meet this week,” he said.
Mangoma said Jomic played an important role in settling political differences among people in various communities at a time when society was virtually polarised along political lines.
“There were incidents of intimidation even after Jomic had gone in to resolve disputes where some people would say ‘we will come after you after Jomic’,” he said.
“But, we were able as representatives of three parties to go in areas where there were problems and even resolve situations where family members could not talk to each other because of polarisation among party lines.”
Mangoma said there was need to consider turning Jomic into a voluntary body and maintain its functions.
Jomic co-chairperson MDC Secretary General Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the cars were “not necessarily government cars” as they were provided by donors.
“We should be allowed to wind up, carry out an audit of what is there and meet and decide as Jomic what to do with the vehicles and forward those proposals to our principals just like we did with Copac,” she said.
“With Copac we were able to suggest some of the cars to be given to the Human Rights Commission and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for use in the elections for instance. We should not be treated as if we are criminals. We are Zimbabweans. In fact, doing things in the manner the Office of the President and Cabinet has ordered creates room for looting of these assets. We have spoken to officials of the President’s Office and they have said they will consult further.”
A representative of Zanu PF in Jomic Oppah Muchinguri said the body was no longer existent hence there was a possibility that it might be accommodated in the new Organ of National Healing provided for in the new constitution.
“Jomic is not there anymore,” she said. “I cannot say I am in the operations committee of Jomic doing what? You must understand that the three co-chairpersons of Jomic, Mangoma, (Nicholas) Goche and Misihairabwi-Mushonga were also cabinet ministers and would source the funding and report to Cabinet. Government was involved in bringing in these cars because they were imported duty free and so the Ministry of Finance would have an interest in this. They are for Zimbabwe. It is dangerous to leave a vacuum so I presume it is alright for Cabinet to be involved because what happens if the cars are used for criminal purposes. It’s an issue which I suppose should be handled by those who were Jomic co-chairpersons.”
Jomic disbanded following the inauguration of the new government.