Norton legislator Temba Mliswa yesterday accused the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy Daniel Shumba of acting like a one-man-band and deliberately trying to protect the chief executive officer of Sakunda Kuda Tagwirei from giving evidence to the committee.
Sakunda built a 100 megawatt diesel power station at Dema which is supplying the country with power but allegedly at a very high price.
It has also been financing the controversial command agriculture project which has seen the country achieve a record harvest though some government officials have discredited it.
Shumba, however, said Sakunda had given evidence to the committee but Mliswa was interested in an individual.
He said Mliswa had an “insatiable appetite to upstage the chair”.
Shumba was told by Speaker Jacob Mudenda not to debate the issue but to write the Clerk of Parliament inviting him to attend their meeting to see how he could resolve the dispute.
The letter referred to a resolution on a certain day of a meeting, a resolution that we never made and as a result, he did not attend. The resolution was never made to the effect that he does not attend but a letter was written to Mr. Tagwirei not to attend as per certain resolution and so forth. We tried to talk about this to air our views and that was not proper. The whole aspect was that there were allegations that he had been paid some money for him not to appear. I made it very clear in the minutes that he needs to clarify this to the Committee but unfortunately, he always refers to the Clerk of Parliament and the Hon. Speaker having given him the go ahead.
The Committee equally requested for the Hon. Speaker to appear before us to try and verify what the Chairman says because we have no other way of doing it. Unfortunately, that was shot down. This has continued despite Hon. Members resolving so in terms of Standing Order No. 30. He also appoints Chairpersons whereas Standing Order No. 30 (2) clearly states that whenever a Committee is informed that the Chairman is not there, we should choose whoever is the Chairman. So for as long as he has been Chairman, he has appointed people to be Chairpersons, which is against this rule.
The question that I have is that the proceedings that happen, with him imposing a Chairman, are they going to be taken as serious proceedings against this? We also brought this up and he again refers it to the Hon. Speaker. I have communicated this to the Hon. Speaker and the head of Government Business. In terms of the Sakunda issue, I equally went to the Hon. Vice President who is the head of Government Business, to ask him if he had spoken to Hon. Shumba about Sakunda not appearing before the Committee. He said that he did not know anything about that.
You are aware Hon. Speaker that I also wanted to talk to you about this but time has lapsed. The Committee thought that it would be able to resolve this issue at our last meeting. As a Member of Parliament, I am not happy to be associated with a Committee whose resolutions where procedure is not followed. It is only proper that each Hon. Member of that Committee be interviewed individually so that you hear from them. We are under siege in that Committee; he spends more time talking and educating us but we equally have been provincial chairpersons and so forth. We are not here to be educated but are here for procedure to be followed.
As such Mr. Speaker, I will be writing to you in terms of that, that procedures are not being followed. Other Hon. Members who are part of that Committee who are here are equally concerned. A lot of allegations have happened which equally implicate you and the Clerk of Court which he uses, which I told him that we need to protect the office of the Speaker and the office of the Clerk of Court because there have also been allegations…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Clerk of Parliament not Clerk of Court.
HON. MLISWA: I am sorry, the Clerk of Parliament, it is my duty as a Hon. Member of Parliament to respect your office. He certainly uses names all the time; name dropping is his tendency and knowing you Mr. Speaker, you are a man of honour, so is the Clerk of Parliament. There are so many allegations of other companies who will come before us who have equally come to me. I will furnish you with their names; they came to me and said is this how you operate that your Chairman asks for money from us, he has got extortionist tendencies which are destroying this Parliament. I say this with evidence of being called and bringing these companies before you. I cannot name these companies in here but I am prepared to give you the names of the companies so that they appear before you. So, as a Member of Parliament, it is important that we record this Mr. Speaker. I hope and I am prepared to produce this in writing again so that I prove everything that I am saying. I thank you very much.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member I hear you, you said you ask for an audience with me to discuss the issues. You asked for an appointment and I gave you 1130hrs on Wednesday last week and you did not appear.
HON. MLISWA: I did not get the message Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, so, that is number one. Number 2; where there are some disagreements in a Committee, the Committee Clerk should write to the Clerk of Parliament who then will address the issues raised in the Committee. If the Clerk of Parliament fails to resolve the issue, he will then refer the matter to the office of the Speaker. I want that followed so that we can get to the bottom of the matter. So, we shall be expecting that letter, and that procedure should be followed so that we can advice accordingly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Just a minute…
Hon. Shumba having stood up.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down, I am still speaking. Secondly, if any member of a Committee has got evidence on certain allegations and these allegations are supported with some evidence so that they are no longer allegations, this should be tendered to the Committee in black and white. I am wondering whether this was done Hon. Mliswa.
HON. MLISWA: Our Clerk of Committee unfortunately is under siege, even some of the minutes that she writes, the things that we say, she does not even put in the minutes. We spend an hour telling her why did you miss this, she is an innocent girl who I equally see is under siege. I think we need a seasoned Clerk of Committee in our Committee to deal with what is happening. Even if you recommend her to write, she will not write anything.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You have not answered my question. My question is did you tender any evidence in Committee of what you allege here?
HON. MLISWA: No, we did not, but we brought the issue up in our meeting.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Why was that not done?
HON. MLISWA: Because we had brought all these issues up in our meeting, they were not minuted, as such, what is the point of even tendering evidence when what we are saying in the meetings is not minuted – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – it has become a dysfunctional Committee, a one man band.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Alright I have understood.
HON. MLISWA: Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I have directed and the Hon. Chairperson is here that your Committee, Hon. Shumba writes to the Clerk of Parliament inviting the Clerk of Parliament to come and sit in the Committee and hear what the problems are, and we will take it up from there – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. SHUMBA: Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Member is on record with his averements I do not intended to go into detail but it is good that the Parliament understands the truth and his insatiable appetite to upstage the Chair. I will go very briefly Mr. Speaker; Parliament has called Sakunda and Sakunda appeared twice before Parliament, but the Hon. Member wants to deal with it as an individual in Sakunda – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: You address the Chair as Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. SHUMBA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I am saying if the Hon. Member could allow me to speak; I was quiet when he was speaking. Hon. Speaker Sir….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you raising a debate because I have ruled.
HON. SHUMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir….
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have ruled, please take your seat.
HON. SHUMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I shall wait for the proper process to follow – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the due process shall follow and the truth cannot be hidden under the table, I thank you.