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MPs give Mines perm sec ‘baptism of fire’

By Zvamaida Murwira

Legislators yesterday grilled Mines and Mining Development Permanent Secretary Mr Onesimo Moyo over delays in appointing a board for the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, saying it might perpetuate the old situation where the parent ministry ran State entities, thus undermining the ethos of corporate governance.

Mr Moyo fields questions from the Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee led by Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa
Mr Moyo fields questions from the Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee led by Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa

The Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee led by Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa said there was danger that the ministry might repeat the scenario in which former secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga and Minister Walter Chidhakwa unilaterally ran the State entities without boards.

The legislators said this yesterday when Mr Moyo and stakeholders appeared before the committee to give oral evidence on the 2019 National Budget.

Mr Moyo, who has been in the ministry for about a month, was also directed to expeditiously appraise himself with operations of his portfolio.

This was after he repeatedly responded to questions by saying he was not aware since he was new in the ministry.

“As the committee may be aware, Chair, I know I should not say this, I am fairly new. I have completed just a month in the ministry and most of the time I have been attending induction training, but I am not saying that should be an excuse. It is something I need to be able to look at and should I get another opportunity I should be able to give a comprehensive answer and hopefully more elaborate responses,” said Mr Moyo.

Legislators took turns to berate him and directed that he returns today.

“The committee is looking at the interest of the nation and of you. The committee has experienced the former permanent secretary, Prof Gudyanga, who literally ran the ministry on his own. The mining sector is in a mess because of two people. There was no corporate governance. The then Minister Chidhakwa and Prof Gudyanga used to sit on the board of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company. You wonder why there is an issue, there is a background to that. Members of Parliament would ask how can one person can sit on a board, and he is the chief accounting officer of the ministry. We are trying to assist you so that you do not fall into the (same) trap, It is important that we start well together,” said Mr Mliswa.

Magwegwe MP Mr Anele Ndebele (MDC-T) concurred.

“Remember this committee let Gudyanga scot-free. He was virtually a board unto himself, the same thing is happening. I shudder to think what will happen next if you Hon Chairperson do not put your foot down,” said Mr Ndebele.

Zvimba North MP Cde Marian Chombo (Zanu-PF) said one month in office was long enough for one to appreciate what goes on in one’s office.

“A month is long enough for you to know what is happening, I do not think it is an excuse we can accept,” she said.

Buhera West MP Cde Nzuma (Zanu-PF) implored Mr Moyo to urgently constitute a board for MMCZ.

Zaka Central MP Cde Davison Svuure (Zanu-PF) implored Mr Moyo to research.

“From the onset I counted three or more excuses premised on him being new. I am beginning to wonder how many more excuses we will get from him.. I do not think that it will be in the best interest of this committee to hear one excuse after another premised on the same reason. This House expects detail,” said Mr Svuure. The Herald