HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsPortfolio committee must be applauded

Portfolio committee must be applauded


The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy must be applauded for being one of the hardest working committees, at least in the year 2010 up to date, particularly for the energy it has expended trying to unravel the mysteries and tragedies at ministries under its portfolio.

The committee, led by Edward Chindori-Chininga, has ploughed through formidable resistance to dig out some of the most putrid activities at the Chiadzwa diamond fields, Shabanie-Mashaba Mines (SMM), Zesa, Hwange and, recently, Noczim.

They have acted like the true eye of the people, investigating, often on site, the goings-on at these national institutions, and calling to account those responsible.

Chindori-Chininga’s committee has been threatened and, on at least two occasions, physically barred from visiting places where certain individuals deemed out of bounds to their probing eye.

At Chiadzwa, the committee uncovered massive smuggling loopholes through which Zimbabwe’s most precious stone was, and could still be siphoned.

Their penetrating questioning of officials exposed shocking underhand dealings, managerial and administrative ineptitude of a magnitude difficult to believe.

We revealed sentiments by government ministers telling the committee that it was not possible to find diamond miners whose hands were squeaky-clean, implying that government could have awarded mining rights and contracts in Chiadzwa to not-so-clean people.

The committee has tried twice so far, to meet the local community, but have met stiff resistance from authorities who, for curious reasons, do not want them to speak to the ordinary persons.

There are reports of human rights violations at the diamond fields where government-deployed uniformed forces are allegedly clamping down on illegal diamond search by local villagers.

Chindori-Chininga and his team are, however, not daunted.

They have another trip to Chiadzwa scheduled and are determined to hear what the greatest villagers have to say.

What Chindori-Chininga’s committee uncovered at Noczim, Zesa and Hwange has been extensively written about.

The committee’s next port of call is Shabanie Mashaba Mines where this time they will meet the communities affected by the collapse of the two mining towns because of the fight between government and Mutumwa Mawere over the asbestos mines.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the Reconstruction Act that government used to dispossess Mawere of SMM was constitutional.

The ruling has not brought a solution to the suffering of the unemployed miners.

Chindori-Chininga’s committee has already been to Shabanie and Mashaba Mines where they toured the mines before talking to the management and later summoning the state-appointed administrator of the mines, Afaras Gwarazimba, Mawere and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to hearings at Parliament.

It emerged at the hearings that both Gwarazimba and Chinamasa have in fact never been in the mines and have no idea what the machinery underground looks like.

The committee will on Monday meet mine employees that have gone for over two years without pay and whose lives have been ruined.

A report by the committee, with recommendations, will be tabled before Parliament and it will be up to the powers-that-be to implement the recommendations.

The nation keenly awaits the committee’s recommendations on how the plight of the workers should be addressed, who should pay them and how the comatose asbestos mines could be resuscitated.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading