BY VENERANDA LANGA
INFORMATION minister Monica Mutsvangwa was yesterday grilled in the National Assembly over utterances by her deputy, Energy Mutodi, that Ndebele people were foreigners and refugees in this country. Pumula MP Sichelesile Mahlangu (MDC Alliance) asked Mutsvangwa to explain if what Mutodi said on radio was government policy.
“Zimbabwe is a unitary State and we fought together for the liberation of this country and so all Zimbabweans are entitled to everything within the boundaries of this country,” Mutsvangwa responded.
“There is no policy to discriminate other Zimbabweans and I am not aware of this particular case.”
Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese (MDC Alliance) said: “The statement in question by Mutodi was made on ZiFM during a live radio broadcast and there have been a lot of tweets about it. We cannot have a situation where the Information minister comes to this House saying she is not aware of the issue. It is either the minister is not doing her job or is misleading this House because her deputy minister posted something notorious.”
Mutsvangwa promised to investigate the issue.
Mahlangu said Mutodi should apologise for his utterances.
In an unrelated matter, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi was asked by Chiredzi West MP Augustine Musikavanhu (Zanu PF) to explain government policy on participating in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), given that the convention was not working to the advantage of the country.
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“Indeed, the issue of our elephants is cause for concern because after the Victoria Falls CITES meeting, as a regional bloc we then agreed during a meeting that took place in Geneva that Zimbabwe and Botswana have the largest population of elephants in the world (80%) and there were human and wildlife conflicts, with people dying and yet those banning elephant trade have no single elephant,” Ziyambi said.
“The situation of overcrowding of elephants has forced us to take the view that there is need to pull out of CITES because we cannot continue in a scenario where we have more animals than we can handle and our population is now vulnerable to these elephants.”
However, Ziyambi said at the moment, Zimbabwe was still bound by CITES.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) then asked Ziyambi to explain the arrangements in which Zimbabwe sold its elephants to China during the time that former Environment ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Priscah Mupfumira were in office.
“Mliswa says he does not know where the money to buy the elephants went to, which means that the sales were done by those ministers in their personal capacities and that the sales were not a government programme,” the Justice minister said in response.