HomePoliticsI did not influence Biti to amend law –– Kuwaza

I did not influence Biti to amend law –– Kuwaza

RESERVE Bank deputy board chairman Charles Kuwaza last week wrote a stinging letter to parliament complaining that his career had become “collateral damage” in an arena of “political kung-fu” as senators insinuated he had influenced Finance minister Tendai Biti to amend laws to accommodate him on the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) board.

Kuwaza wrote on December 17 to clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma after senators during a debate on the Finance Bill accused Biti of pushing an amendment to allow individuals to sit on at least three state boards instead of the current limit of two.  The senators said the amendment was intended to pave way for Kuwaza to become chairman of Zimra.
The RBZ deputy chairman also sits as executive chairman of the State Procurement Board.
Biti has since made amendments to the Bill that had been recommended by senate, which said no person should sit on more than two state boards. Kuwaza said he had already turned down his appointment to the Zimra board because it was against the country’s laws even though President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had approved it.
“I am therefore unable to hold board appointments at the SPB, RBZ and Revenue Authority simultaneously as that would be inconsistent with the requirements of the law,” Kuwaza wrote in another letter to Biti in September declining the appointment.
In his letter to Zvoma, Kuwaza said senators had been allowed to malign his name hiding behind parliamentary “privilege” when they were fully aware that he could not respond in parliament.
“It is astonishing to hear from the ZBC and to read press statements attributed to certain senators in the august House that I had been closely associated with clandestine, back-handed and corrupt initiatives to allow me to sit on more than two statutory boards,” wrote Kuwaza. “This is clearly a case where my name has been tarnished without the platform to respond in parliament. Parliamentary privilege has been used to assassinate my character. I take issue with that.”
Zvoma, in a telephone interview yesterday, confirmed receiving the letter from Kuwaza and said a response would be made in due course.
“I received the letter and it is lying at my offices. A response would be made in the New Year as currently we are closed for the holidays,” Zvoma said.
Kuwaza went the extra mile to prove that the appointments to RBZ and SPB were done from the office of the President and Cabinet, not by Biti as alleged in the senate.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda on April 16 wrote to Biti advising him of Kuwaza’s appointment to the RBZ board by Mugabe.
“Please be advised that His Excellency the President has approved the appointments of the following board members for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in terms of Section 22 of the Act: Gideon Gono, Charles Kuwaza (deputy chairperson), Mr Willard Manungo, Mr Mordecai  Pilate Mahlangu, Mr Daniel Ndhlela, Mrs Primrose Kurasha, Mr George Smith (in place of Mr David Govere), Prof Tony Hawkins, Dr Kombo Moyana, Ms Nyasha Zhou and Mr Godfrey Kanyenze,” wrote Sibanda.
According to Statutory Instrument 49 of 2010, Assignment of Functions (Office of the President and Cabinet), the president appoints the State Procurement Board, not the Finance minister.
Kuwaza concluded his letter with a bold assertion on his willingness to continue serving the country without allegiance to any political party.
“I will remain, as I have over the past 30 years, a professional public servant and of course, a chess player of note. Bishops and Knights have no political party! Neither has checkmate!”
The letter to Zvoma was copied to the editors of the Herald and the Zimbabwe Independent as well as Sibanda. Kuwaza accused the press of complicity in calling him Biti’s ally.  The former Finance ministry permanent secretary is conducting a war of attrition with RBZ governor Gideon Gono over the latter’s management of the central bank.


Paidamoyo Muzulu

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