By Auxilia Katongomara
The Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Nyasha Chikwinya, might have allegedly lied to Parliament about the establishment of a women’s bank.
The Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, on Thursday slammed the minister for making inconsistent statements to the August House on the issue.
He ordered Chikwinya to make a Ministerial statement to the House to establish the facts.
Chikwinya faces contempt of Parliament if she fails to present the statement.
Adv Mudenda said Chikwinya’s actions might be seen as lying.
“After studying the Hansard and listening to the audio recording, it would appear that the honourable Minister changed her initial response. Such action might be perceived as bordering on prevarication on the part of the honourable Minister,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said Appendix C of the Schedule to the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act [Cap 2:08] cites prevarication as one of other contempts which are offences in Parliament.
“In light of the inconsistencies in the honourable Minister’s response, the chair rules that the honourable 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 Minister,” said Adv Mudenda.
The Speaker said Chikwinya gave conflicting statements regarding the recruitment and logistics for the women’s bank during question time on March 1 this year.
“I have this ruling to make. On Wednesday, 1st March, 2017, the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Hon Chikwinya, in response to a question from Hon (Thokozani) Khupe on the Women’s Bank responded as follows; “we now have a Board in place, an acting Chief Executive Officer. We also now have Banking Halls. Training of those that are going to man the Bank is in progress” Adv Mudenda told Parliament.
He said when asked by Mr (Murisi) Zwizwai how that was possible when the vacant positions in the said bank had not been advertised, Chikwinya stated that the Board members and the chief executive officer were responsible for the recruitment and that it was not the duty of Government to do that.
“Upon further probing by Hon (Innocent) Gonese on the process and procedure used to recruit those who were undergoing training and also how the board members were recruited, the Hon Minister stated that, “they are in the process. If they are in the process, there are procedures that they are supposed to take “ said Adv Mudenda.
He said the response given did not go down well with some MPs who felt that Chikwinya had given conflicting statements to the house and also evaded the actual question asked on how the staff being trained was recruited without following due process.
Adv Mudenda said this prompted him as the chair to make a ruling after studying the verbatim report of the Minister`s reply. The Chronicle