Home » Governance » Ex-Speaker Backs Mudenda for Blocking Ministers’ Graft Probe

FORMER Speaker of Parliament and MDC-T national chair Lovemore Moyo has defended his successor, Jacob Mudenda’s unpopular decision Tuesday to block sitting MPs from setting up a special probe team that would go after corrupt ministers and parastatal bosses.

Zanu PF and MDC-T MPs displayed rare harmony in the house April when they proposed, through a motion, to form a team to investigate unbridled graft by government officials.

But Mudenda, a Zanu PF parliamentary deployee, returned this past Tuesday to veto the probe team’s formation insisting this was an attempt by legislators to usurp the duties of the country’s toothless Anti-Corruption Commission.

“The house cannot be competing with other state agencies that are tasked with conducting such investigations,” Mudenda ruled. “The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is constitutionally mandated to do so while parliament should play an oversight role.”

To many, this was another brazen ploy by a powerful public official to shield corrupt government officials from being probed.

The proposed probe would also have been a breadth of fresh air for many Zimbabweans longing for the day their untouchable leaders would be called to account for their impunity.

But Moyo, an opposition official who, ordinarily should have laid straight into Mudenda, instead, went to his defence.

“The Speaker is right,” he said, in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.

“To start with, Speakers have got the prerogative to make decisions, right or wrong.”

Moyo said it was still within the rights of MPs to investigate public office holders but only through the mandated portfolio committees and not the ad hoc committee they were pushing for.

“In terms of the operations of parliament and through committees, Parliament is mandated to investigate any mismanagement by the parastatals, ministries or any public fund that is supported by tax payers’ money.

Outside that, Moyo said, legislators could employ the Comptroller and Auditor General’s services.

The former Matopo MP, who later served as Speaker between 2008 and 2013, said outside the two options, the MPs would be taking the job of a particular committee.

He added, “Who in the first place is going to fund it (probe team) because portfolio committees are there in the Constitution and they are permanent they are not ad hoc committees which cannot be funded it in terms of the budget.

“Parliament has money only to fund its portfolio committees that have got various responsibilities in terms of overseeing or shadowing the ministries and various public institutions.”

MDC-T MP for Kambuzuma, Willius Madzimure moved the motion which was seconded by Zanu PF’s Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi.

This was followed by the naming of 13 MPs to form the probe team which was to investigate allegations of financial impropriety reported in state entities such as the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, NSSA, ZBC, Premier Services Medical Aid Society, ZESA and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

But Moyo said MPs should have known better than to push for the impossible.

“I would appreciation a motion asking a particular committee to investigate the ministers,” he said.

“What they should have done is to recommend a relevant portfolio committee to summon various heads of parastatals and institutions including ministers.

“I agree that the way the motion is structured makes it unconstitutional but it does not mean MPs cannot investigate. MPs can always investigate via the portfolio committees, full stop. That is where the funding is.”

Source : New Zimbabwe