Mutasa sneaks into Parly

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DEFIANT former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday turned up in Parliament almost two months after he went out of public life following his ugly fallout with President Robert Mugabe.
Mutasa, who is Headlands MP, sneaked into the House of Assembly shortly before Speaker Jacob Mudenda opened the proceedings and quietly sat next to former Information Communication Technology minister Webster Shamu for approximately 25 minutes before he left.

Mutasa’s stay in Zanu PF now hangs in the balance after top party officials have publicly called for his ouster after he denounced the party’s December congress resolutions as illegal and threatened to take the party to court over the matter.

The former Zanu PF strongman has refused to be silenced and even scoffed at threats to have him expelled from the party.

Mutasa has even defied Mugabe and at one time sought to have him reprimanded by his Sadc and African Union colleagues for “holding an illegal party congress” that endorsed the ouster of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and several other party gurus.

They were relieved of their government and party posts over allegations of plotting to topple Mugabe from power. Several former ministers who were swept away in the December tide have of late been attending Parliament in their capacity as MPs, but keeping a low profile.
Morale among them seems low, and most of them have been wearing forlorn faces in Parliament.

This comes amid reports that the Zanu PF purge, which started in the run-up to the party’s December congress, is likely to be extended to chairpersons of thematic committees, the majority of whom are perceived as Mujuru allies.

Sources said the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee met this week to discuss re-alignment of MPs to different committees and that Zanu PF might remove MPs aligned to the Mujuru faction from chairing parliamentary committees.

The axe is likely to fall on Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa (Education, Sport, Arts and Culture), Mbire MP David Butau (Lands, Agriculture and Mechanisation), Marondera Central MP Ray Kaukonde (Industry and Commerce) and Epworth MP Amos Midzi (Transport and Infrastructural Development) — all of whom were booted out of their provincial chairmanship on allegations of supporting Mujuru.
Mudenda announced last week that there was going to be a reshuffle of MPs in committees.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs yesterday continued to resist the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Debt Assumption Bill which is currently in the Second Reading Stage before the National Assembly.

However, Zanu PF MPs said if the opposition MPs described the RBZ farm mechanisation scheme as looting, then they might as well return the vehicles that the central bank bought for them during the government of national unity.

Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) said although he was in favour of passage of the Bill to enable the RBZ to assume a clean balance sheet, its quasi-fiscal activities which brought about the $1,3 billion debt were an act of recklessness.

Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo (MDC-T) said the Bill sought to normalise fraudulent activities.

Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) said failure to force the farm mechanisation beneficiaries to pay back was a violation of the Constitution which demanded transparency and accountability. Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya (MDC-T) said there was need for people to know what debts they would be paying for.

But Zanu PF MP Masango Matambanadzo (Kwekwe Central) said opposition legislators benefited from the RBZ vehicle scheme and should therefore return the cars.

Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna (Zanu PF) added that part of the debt was accrued in the purchase of MPs’ vehicles by the RBZ.