LOCAL Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday had a torrid time in the National Assembly when opposition MPs lambasted him for suspending Chitungwiza councillors.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Kasukuwere had issued a ministerial statement on suspension of the entire Chitungwiza council on allegations of corruption when Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) pointed out that he should have suspended them after conviction at crimes and not on allegations.
“As minister, there are allegations that you have taken land in Pomona, and you went on to demand a $5 million bribe from Phillip Chiyangwa so that you give him land, yet you were not suspended as minister, but you are suspending the entire Chitungwiza council and yet you stole the whole of Pomona.
“A $5 million bribe is a lot of money and if allocated to Chitungwiza, it will achieve a lot. The Chitungwiza council was suspended and yet you minister was accused of planning to topple government, yet they are first investigating the allegations before suspending you. You are now the police, court and judge, but they must be convicted before suspension,” Maridadi said amid fierce interjections from Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Wadyajena (Zanu PF).
Maridadi then directed his attacks at Wadyajena, saying: “You behave like an uncircumcised child.”
Angered by Maridadi’s remarks, Wadyajena demanded that the MDC-T legislator apologise to the people of Gokwe for claiming that he is uncircumcised.
“What proof does he have that I am uncircumcised?” Wadyajena asked.
But Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona did not entertain Wadyajena, saying he was wasting Parliament’s time.
In response to Maridadi, Kasukuwere said: “Madam Speaker, I am sure we must debate issues about the ministerial statement on Chitungwiza. Just to make allegations is unfair. If there are issues to do with me, you can raise them on a separate occasion. Unfortunately, Maridadi does not take the work of Parliament seriously. He used to work on radio talking to kids, but this is Parliament, not Kidznet.”
Maridadi said Kasukuwere was once a driver too.
Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) asked Kasukuwere about the timing of the Chitungwiza suspensions.
“Is it that probably the minister took action on Chitungwiza in order to remove attention from his troubles in Zanu PF, so that people focus on Chitungwiza?” Sibanda asked.
Chitungwiza South MP Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) also asked Kasukuwere if he was not fighting his personal wars by firing the entire Chitungwiza council.
“Chitungwiza town clerk George Makunde is deputy secretary of administration in Zanu PF and he bussed in people to Bindura to demonstrate against Kasukuwere. So is the minister not solving his personal problems by firing the whole council?” Sithole asked.
Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross (MDC-T) said dismissal of councillors for corruption was a welcome move, but the procedure that Kasukuwere used to fire them was unconstitutional.
Cross said the procedure for dismissal of councillors was the same as that for MPs, citing incarcerated former legislator Munyaradzi Kereke who continued being MP despite criminal allegations but was fired on conviction.
“There are more than 500 000 houses in Harare on land allocated illegally by land barons on a political basis. In Masvingo, there is Victoria Ranch taken over by the State under the land reform programme and allocated to land barons who divided it into 13 000 stands sold at $4 000 per stand, which is $56 million and vastly more than the budget of Masvingo,” Cross said.
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna (Zanu PF) said Kasukuwere must also descend on corrupt Chegutu councillors. “I will deal with land barons, but they work in a network of criminals that includes councillors,” Kasukuwere said.