BY VENERANDA LANGA
THE Tafadzwa Musarara-chaired Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) yesterday turned up in Parliament to be grilled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture on issues pertaining to procurement of wheat, only to find that the MPs were not present for them.
Last month, when they appeared before the committee, led by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena, GMAZ officials were ordered to bring documentary proof relating to the grain procurement, foreign currency allocations by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from January to March 2019, proof of wheat acquittals, names and contacts of suppliers and transporters, donations that the millers did during that period and several other issues pertaining to wheat and grain importation.
Wadyajena ordered GMAZ to appear before the committee yesterday after charging that they were unprepared and had not produced the needed documents.
However, he, and the rest of the committee members, yesterday failed to present themselves for the meeting.
The Lands and Agriculture Committee chairperson tweeted from the United States, where he was said to be visiting, accusing GMAZ of sending fake news alerts to journalists by inviting them to attend the committee hearing.
“Instead of submitting documents requested by @parliamentzim Portfolio Committee, GMAZ is inviting ‘media friends’ to cover a non-existent Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting!” Wadyajena’s tweet read.
Musarara and his team waited for about an hour for the committee members (MPs), and after none of them turned up, their lawyer advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba then addressed the media.
Magwaliba said the Lands and Agriculture Committee should have informed GMAZ that the meeting had been postponed because it was the committee which invited them to appear before Parliament on April 2 (yesterday).
“The committee should have informed us (GMAZ) that the meeting has been postponed, but we do not even have that statement or communication. A Parliament officer has confirmed now that it has been postponed, but we were not furnished with the reasons,” he said.
“It is not us who invited ourselves to appear before Parliament. It is not our business to also chart the way forward. It is Parliament that invited us to appear before them on April 2, and they have to chart the way forward.”
Magwaliba said the documents that the committee had requested were actually handed to Parliament last week on March 27, contrary to Wadyajena’s assertions that they had not submitted