Chamisa Dismisses Annexing of Ministry's Functions

HARARE – Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa has described the annexing of functions under his ministry and hand over to an expanded Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development led by Nicholas Goche as a joke, indicating that President Robert Mugabe does not have the mandate to do so.

In an interview Chamisa said only the three principals could take such a decision.

“What Mr Mugabe has announced is a proposition that will not attract the cooperation of myself, and hopefully my party,” Chamisa told an online publication. “I am not in Mr Mugabe’s government; I am in an inclusive government. I can’t be demoted by one principal without the other principals agreeing… it has to be a collective.

“This whole thing is motivated by hatred, malice and the crime is that I am MDC, that I am young and that I am trying to make positive contribution. I have already raised this issue with the other principals, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Prof Mutambara.

“For one boss to tell me instructions through a newspaper is something I don’t take lightly. Even in banana republics things like this don’t happen.

“But we should be clear, I am the minister in charge of communications in this country, I can’t be demoted and I cannot have my ministry dissolved. We had managed to gather good momentum in the sector, and people are not interested in this politicking, they want real change, delivery, good services, affordable services… and those are the issues that were seizing my attention.”

"Mugabe does not have those powers, those powers in the inclusive government arrangement lie with the three principals and they have not advised me that I have been demoted or that my ministry has been disbanded as I read in The Herald, I will not take things from The Herald, which is notorious for telling lies, so maybe its just a way of misleading people," he said.

A Herald report on Friday indicated that President Mugabe had expanded the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to include the Department of Communications and that the new portfolio would now become the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development under Minister Nicholas Goche.

The ministry will oversee the operations at NetOne, TelOne, Zimpost and their governing body, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.

Chamisa said he was now awaiting the decision of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party Morgan Tsvangirai on the matter.

"The Information Communication Technology ministry will be left to focus on developing appropriate policies and strategies of ICT innovations while spearheading the development of regulatory frameworks that facilitate the development of ICT. The ministry would also champion and promote ICT literacy in the country while formulating laws and regulations that would establish necessary departments," said the Herald.

Under the new arrangement, Minister Goche would be responsible for all the communication parastatals and their regulatory bodies. The Department of Communications would be governed by the Postal and Telecommunications Act, Postal and Telecommunications Services Act and Postal and Telecommunications Corporation Act. Transmedia, which was also at the centre of the dispute, however remains under the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity.