A Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development meeting with minister Nicholas Goche was yesterday aborted after what the chairman, Kwekwe MP Blessing Chebundo, described as a procedural hickup.
However, sources told NewsDay some members of the committee had protested over the presence of United States Embassy first secretary James Garry in the public gallery.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Goche was expected to be quizzed over a litany of issues in his ministry such as developments at the beleaguered Air Zimbabwe, the looming ban on the importation of left-hand driven vehicles and second-hand cars that are more than five years old, as well as the issue of tollgates.
Asked by NewsDay to explain what had happened, Chebundo could only say some members of his committee had questioned the presence of “some people” who had turned up to hear Goche giving oral evidence on the topical issues.
“Some MPs had questioned why the committee was so open to members of the public and we had to sit down as a committee and took time discussing the issue, which resulted in the delays,” said Chebundo.
“It was a matter of trying to make sure MPs understood procedural issues because committee meetings are open to everyone, unless we are deliberating on reports after gathering oral evidence.”
Garry later told NewsDay he was not aware his presence was the reason behind failure by the committee to hear oral evidence from Goche.
“I was not advised about the issue and I did not know that it had to do with my presence. It is not my first time to attend parliamentary portfolio committee meetings,” said Garry. The meeting was postponed to next Monday.