Several cabinet ministers under fire

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SEVERAL cabinet ministers, mostly from Zanu PF, have for the past five months been ducking questions from MDC-T MPs on government’s policy relating to the alleged partisan conduct of central intelligence officers (CIOs), the recruitment and promotion of police officers, diamond revenue, the Essar deal and monies owed to Zesa by the executive.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

Questions from Mazowe Central MP, Shepherd Mushonga and Kwekwe Central MP, Blessing Chebundo, on the conduct of the police and CIO, which have been on the order papers since February, were raised as MDC-T called for security sector reforms ahead of general elections ordered by the Constitutional Court to be held on or before July 31.

Mushonga on May 22 asked the minister of State Security: “What is the ministry’s policy with regards to state intelligence officers who are openly partisan and hold provincial and central committee positions in Zanu PF?”

Mushonga further inquired: “If state security intelligence agents are partisan and belong to political parties, how will they protect members of government who do not belong to their preferred political parties who are in government? Does this not compromise their (members of government) security, safety and privacy?”

Chebundo on February 13 asked co-ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone to “explain and justify why the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) was enrolling or integrating its general hand employees as regular police officers and issuing them with police ID cards with different ranks and enlisting them with the Salary Services Bureau (SSB)?”

Chebundo cited 13 such cases from around Kwekwe district where individuals were employed and some promoted as officers in an allegedly clandestine manner. Several other ministers have also not responded to written questions over the past five months.

Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube has not responded to a question from Chebundo on why the New Zimbabwe Steel Company is failing to take off despite the deal with Indian Investors, Essar Holdings. Chebundo also wanted to know what measures were in place to address the plight of the workers at NewZim Steel and Zimasco.

Energy and Power Development minister, Elton Mangoma, is still to respond to a question from Chebundo on how much ministers, their deputies and senior government officials owe Zesa and what measures have been put in place to recover the debts.

Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu has not responded to questions from Mushonga relating to Marange diamond mining. Mushonga wanted to know the gross output from July 2012 to January this year in all the seven mines operating in Marange, and what gross dividend government had received from its 50% ownership.

Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga and Ignatius Chombo (Local Government) are among ministers who have also not responded to questions sent to them since February this year.

Analysts at various forums have said the seventh parliament, due to expire at the end of this month, has been the least productive since Independence in 1980. They, however, say the development may have been caused by the nature of the coalition government incepted in February 2009 following the signing of the Sadc- facilitated Global Political Agreement.

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