By Buhle Tshavango
Minister of Women affairs, Gender and Community Development Cde Nyasha Chikwinya faces contempt of Parliament charges after presenting conflicting information and evading questions from MPs during a question and answer session.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda recently made a ruling in response to submissions made by Honourable Chikwinya in response to progress made on the yet to be launched Women’s bank.
Honourable Chikwinya evaded questions posed to her in regards to the recruiting process for banking staff and went ahead to respond on other issues while at the same time contradicting herself and misleading the house.
Responding to a question by Hon Khupe on progress made with regards to the operationalization of the Women’s Bank, Hon Chikwinya stated that a board was now in place , as well as banking halls whilst staff training was ongoing.
“I want to let you know that we now have a board in place, an acting Chief Executive Officer and have been advanced $10 million by our Minister of Finance and Economic Development so that we start operating.
“We also now have banking halls and training of those that are going to mann the bank is in progress”, stated Hon Chikwinya.
Hon Zwiwai noticing a red flag in the submissions by the Honourable minister probed her claims on staff training when there had been no vacancy advertisements published for banking staff to which Hon Chikwinya replied that it was not the duty of the Government to do so.
“There are experts who are capable of running that bank and they are the ones who do that – Those who look for the people to mann and work in the bank are the board members and the CEO. That is not the work of the Government”, she said.
Her submissions did not go well with the house as MPs felt the procedure on recruitment was not clear.
“Hon. Minister has not done justice to the question. The issue from the supplementary question is very straight forward. Can the Minister elucidate on her answer and clarify for us about the process which was used to recruit those people who are already being trained.
“The nation wants to know the process which was used to identify the members, even of the board how they were recruited so that we do our things in a transparent and open manner and not in an opaque way”, weighed in Hon Gonese.
Upon further probing Hon Chikwinya then changed goal posts arguing that what she had actually said was that recruitments were in process and they were procedures supposed to be taken.
This did not go well with the MPs who raised continuous point of orders to the effect that the Minister was out-rightly lying and causing disputes with her misleading information.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda after listening to an audio recording of the session and studying the Hansard for the day ruled that the Minister had indeed Minister changed her initial response. Adding that such action might be perceived as bordering on prevarication.
“Appendix C of the Schedule to the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act [Cap 2:08] cites prevarication as one of other contempt’s which are offences to Parliament.
“In light of the inconsistencies in the Hon. Minister’s response, the Chair rules that the Hon. 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 Hon. Minister”, ruled Advocate Mudenda.
The Women’s bank has been a subject of controversy before it has even been launched after reports circulating to the effect that Government has appointed a man who had no banking background whatsoever.
Former Zimpapers CEO Matthews Kunaka was said to have been appointed as Chairman causing public outcry on his credentials and the logic of creating a women’s bank headed by a man.
The Women’s bank was conceived in a bid to provide financial support to small and medium enterprises run by women.