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Committee chaos, Mliswa says he might resign

By Daniel Chigundu

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa says he might resign as the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairperson on Mines following disagreements with some Zanu PF legislators on issues of the procedure with regards to the Hwange Colliery probe.

Mliswa had wanted British business tycoon Nicholas Van Hoogstraten to give evidence on the Hwange Colliery issues with regards to his investment.

However, some legislators such as Honourable Royi Bhila (Chiredzi North), John Paradza (Gutu West, Leonard Chikomba (Gokwe-Kabuyuni) and Dzuma Soul (Buhera West) could not have any of it arguing that the matter was before the courts and cannot be discussed in Parliament.

Honourable Bhila at some stage exchanged words with Van Hoogstraten leading to the summoning of the Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda to help clarify the issues and procedure.

After the intervention of the Clerk of Parliament, Honourable Mliswa acknowledged that he had been wrong and offered his apology to the committee.

“I miss calculated and made the wrong decisions,” he said.

“As a result, I take full blame and responsibility and I will consult to see if I am still capable of chairing this committee but in the next couple of days I will make a statement as to whether I am fit to chair the committee or not.

“I don’t think any leader should make such a decision that divides the committee, the committee of Parliament is more important at the end of the day and I can still be effective even when I am the chair so it’s for me now to decide the way forward and to say the inconveniences caused to everyone are sincerely regretted.

“We now adjourn the Hwange issue until the court outcome is there,” he said.

Mliswa’s decision to proceed was being supported MDC Alliance legislators who called for the ejection of Zanu PF legislators from the committee meeting.

Before the intervention of the Clerk, Honourable Bhila had told Honourable Mliswa that he should not treat them like kids who come to listen to one person’s ideas.

“We are not kids, I came from Chiredzi North with 36 000 voters coming here and you want me to come and listen to you doing what you want.

“Listening to what one person wants, we did not come for that we have got constituencies that we represent.

“Why do you look down upon us, if the majority is saying it can’t be done and you say it will be done what have you been given?” he said.

Meanwhile, Honourable Mliswa has added that “I think I misfired and when you misfire you must be honest with yourself and I think my integrity and dignity is of paramount importance, I have a life after Parliament and it’s important to keep it intact.

Mliswa said “I shall be consulting the powers be and tell them of my intentions and I think in the next 48hours I should be able to inform the nation on my position pertaining to whether I should continue as chair or not,” he said.

According to the Norton legislator, even if he is wrong, committee members must use respectful language and Parliamentary procedures to seek redress in order to protect the integrity of the committee.

“For me even if I am wrong I expect members to behave with dignity in front of people no matter how wrong I am and I think there are processes and procedures, they could have rushed to the Clerk and say we have disagreed with the chairman can you come and talk to him and so forth.

“But of course that behaviour leaves the committee divided and really we are about national interests we need to align ourselves to the new dispensation.

“I was chairman of the last committee and we tackled bigger issues than this, there was cooperation, there was understanding then there was political will continue and finish with what we had started, and it also had to do with the type of people you lead that’s the truth,” he said.

Mliswa said there was a need for training, especially on maturity adding that some of the issues are to do with the type of people who are in the committee adding that some Zanu PF people are not happy with him doing his job.

“I am a person who values his dignity more than positions I have been chairman in many platforms so I think unity is what is important, there is a need for training on maturity but time is moving.

“This is a Zanu PF seat that I was given but I think people in Zanu PF are not willing to let me do the job of exposing corrupt senior party leadership.

“But this also goes with the President whether he wants the truth to come out or not, but even without being a chairman I can be more effective than when I am chairman,” he said.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He writes for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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