INFORMATION Communication Technology (ICT) deputy minister Win Mlambo was involved in a near-fatal accident while driving under controversial circumstances a TelOne vehicle on Monday.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Mlambo, who is Chipinge East legislator, was travelling to his constituency when he hit a herd of cattle along Mutare-Masvingo highway.
Although police in Mutare were not unwilling to comment on the accident, Mlambo confirmed it.
He defended his use of a parastatal vehicle, saying it was sourced by the ministry after his official vehicle was taken in for service.
“Yes, that is true. I just hit two cows and they died on the spot on Monday. That was a relief car organised by the ministry administration,” Mlambo said.
Asked if it was permissible to use a parastatal vehicle, the deputy minister went on to accuse the newspaper of trying to foment chaos.
He claimed that as a minister it was not possible for him to go without a vehicle.
“Administration (ministry) source relief vehicles from wherever they source them be it CMED or whatever. Of course, they are allowed and what is not allowed is for me to walk on foot. When my car is going for service the deputy minister is given a relief car. I approached the admin and they gave me the car.
“It is their mandate to look for a relief car for the deputy minister and here I am talking about the administration of the ministry and not that of TelOne,” Mlambo said.
Sources who spoke to NewsDay Weekender claimed Mlambo demanded the use of the vehicle.
“The vehicle was badly damaged and was taken to VID Mutare. I don’t know why he is trying to normalise the abnormal because that parastatal is facing its own challenges such as shortage of vehicles to carry its mandate. Here we have people abusing their mandate to take off vehicles from their normal duties to do some businesses for ministry officials who are entitled to their own vehicles,” the source said.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on ICTs, Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) weighed in, saying there was no justifiable cause for the minister to act in the manner that he did.
“This is abuse of office. A minister is simply supposed to do an oversight of parastatals under his ministry. If the overseer is now overzealous as to step into the zone of resources of a parastatal, then it’s a problem,” Chamisa said.
“Why should a minister use parastatal vehicles? The minister is supposed to have hands on not hands in. Generally, and overall ministers are not supposed to be interfering with day-to-day operations of parastatals. Good corporate governance does not permit that and even the Constitution has something on that.”
“Companies and other commercial entities owned or wholly controlled by the State must in addition to complying with the principles set out in section 194 (1) conduct their operations so as to maintain commercial viability and abide by generally accepted standards of good corporate governance,” read section 195 of the Constitution.
In 2016, Mlambo made headlines when he reportedly ordered State institutions to spruce up his rural home for the burial of his mother in Chipinge.
Sources told NewsDay Weekender yesterday that the ministry’s permanent secretary wrote to TelOne requesting the vehicle for the deputy minister’s use.
Telone corporate communications manager Melody Harry said: “Yes, we do support the ministry once in a while if there is need, but it is unfortunate that in this incident an accident had to occur.”