Parliament purges Mujuru loyalists

THE Zanu PF purge on perceived allies of fired Vice-President Joice Mujuru has been taken to Parliament where Ray Kaukonde (Marondera Central MP) and Enock Porusingazi (Chipinge South) were yesterday stripped of their chairmanship of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and reduced to ordinary members.

\nBY VENERANDA LANGA

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The move occurred as Zanu PF threatened to reshuffle its administrative staff both at head office and provincial offices, a move observers described as meant to flush out all workers perceived to be sympathetic to Mujuru.

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Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced the development yesterday, saying it was a normal reshuffle, although it was widely believed to be part of the ongoing purge of pro-Mujuru legislators.

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Mujuru was last December dismissed from her party and government posts alongside 16 Cabinet and deputy ministers, nine Zanu PF provincial chairpersons and other senior party officials on allegations of plotting to unconstitutionally topple President Robert Mugabe from power.

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Kaukonde, who was chairperson of the Industry and Commerce Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, was immediately replaced by Masvingo Central MP Edmore Mhere (Zanu PF).

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The former Mashonaland East Zanu PF provincial chairman, however, remained an ordinary member of the same committee.

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Porusingazi’s chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee was taken over by another perceived Mujuru ally Epworth MP Amos Midzi (Zanu PF), who was previously the chairman of the Transport and Infrastructural Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.

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Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna (Zanu PF) will now chair the Transport and Infrastructural Development Committee. Porusingazi becomes an ordinary committee member.

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Other perceived Mujuru camp MPs who chaired portfolio committees like Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa (Education, Sport, Arts and Culture) and Mbire MP David Butau (Lands and Agriculture) survived the axe as they were not affected and will continue leading their respective committees.

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Dismissed ex-ministers and their deputies were also assigned to committees as ordinary members, save for former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and ex-Justice deputy minister Fortune Chasi (Mazowe South MP) whose future in the House remains unclear following campaigns to have them recalled.

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Former Information Communication Technology minister and Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu and Mashonaland East’s ex-Provincial Affairs minister Simbaneuta Mudarikwa will now sit in portfolio committees as ordinary members as well as deputy ministers Paul Chimedza, Tongai Muzenda and Petronella Kagonye.

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In Senate, ex-Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development minister Olivia Muchena, fired Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, and ex-Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Flora Buka were assigned to sit in different committees as ordinary members.

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Mudenda also told the House that the Standing Rules and Orders Committee had made a decision to include a clause in the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders outlining penalties for offences of truancy by ministers during question and answer sessions.

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“Section 107 (2) of the Constitution clearly states that the Vice-President, ministers and deputy ministers must attend Parliament, which is compulsory. Once the House has adopted the new Standing Rules and Orders, we shall proceed in terms of contempt because we as Parliament must protect the Constitution,” Mudenda said.

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On Wednesday, party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told journalists in Harare that the staff restructuring exercise was the brainchild of secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo.

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Khaya Moyo said Chombo had presented a report on staff complement from across the provinces and head office to the politburo, but declined to disclose finer details of the report.

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“Cde Chombo gave an exposé on proposed administrative reorganisation at the headquarters and provinces. He gave a detailed staff complement province by province starting with the headquarters, but I can’t, however, give you reports on that,” Khaya Moyo said.

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He added that the issues were more administrative and internal party matters which he could not disclose to the media.

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However, Zanu PF insiders said the clean-up exercise was targeting workers employed during the Mutasa era.

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Mutasa was accused of employing some people to the party without following procedures while ousted former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was at one point under fire for employing people perceived to be anti-Zanu PF. Zanu PF insiders said the administration and commissariat departments had been tasked to restructure the party after the divisive congress last December which saw several party heavyweights sidelined.

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Meanwhile, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa told Senate that the Zimbabwean woman who died in Conakry, Guinea, and was initially believed to have succumbed to Ebola, had in fact died of malaria.

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Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi also told Senators that Equatorial Guinea footed the bill of Zimbabwean security forces who provided VVIP security at the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations football tournament. – NewsDay