Members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion who last month bitterly quarrelled over utterances by their chairman, yesterday decided to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones.
Chairman of the committee, Zaka East MP, Samson Mukanduri (Zanu PF), said in an interview on Tuesday that things had normalised without elaborating.
Although Mukanduri did not give a clear answer on whether or not he had made an apology as demanded by the MPs who walked out of the meeting last month, the MDC-T MPs concerned said he had done so.
MDC-T MPs Dorcas Sibanda (Bulawayo Central), Collen Gwiyo (Zengeza West), Hamandishe Maramwidze (Gutu North), and Brian Tshuma (Hwange Central) last month walked out of a Foreign Affairs committee hearing after Mukanduri had attacked Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s stance on the issue of President Robert Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of governors and diplomats.
On Tuesday, the MDC-T MPs attended the committee hearing on Foreign Affairs and said Mukanduri had clarified that he was speaking in an individual capacity and not as chairman of the committee.
“The chairman apologised to us,” said Tshuma. “We actually met at the pre-Budget seminar for MPs at Victoria Falls and discussed our differences and agreed that there was no point in continuing to boycott the meetings.”
Sibanda, who also doubles up as MDC-T deputy chief whip, confirmed that Mukanduri had apologised to them.
“He (Mukanduri) retracted his statements and we decided as a committee that we should forgive each other and work together to promote committee business,” said Sibanda.
She said it would not serve any purpose to continue to derail business of the committee by boycotting meetings as the committee had an important oversight function over the Executive.
However, Sibanda warned that as the MDC-T chief whip, her party would continue to insist that President Mugabe should respect the other players in the GPA by consulting whenever major appointments were made.
“Mugabe should consult other signatories to the GPA, especially pertaining to the issue of elections which he said should be held next year. He should not say he has the authority to announce election dates without consulting other signatories to the GPA,” she said.