HARARE – Parliament yesterday moved to have Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere arrested on charges of showing contempt for the august House, as the deadly factional and succession wars disembowelling Zanu PF continue to play out in public.
Chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Indigenisation and Economic empowerment Mayor Wadyajena — who is said to be a close ally of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — had Kasukuwere on the ropes again in Parliament yesterday when he moved a motion that could result in the arrest or fining of the burly and combative Local Government minister.
This came after Kasukuwere — who has boasted of being one of Zimbabwe’s “biggest political thugs” — was summoned to appear before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Indigenisation chaired by Wadyajena in June, to clarify how he had handled the controversial $50 million Marange Community Share Ownership Scheme when he was Indigenisation minister.
But instead of answering questions then, Kasukuwere went for the jugular and accused the youthful Wadyajena of seeking to settle political scores using his position as chairman of the committee.
A grinning Wadyajena, seemingly relishing the occasion yesterday, returned the fire with interest, revealing to a hushed Parliament that diamond mines had never made any pledges to the community ownership trust, as had been alleged by Kasukuwere.
Going further to quote the Constitution, Wadyajena said that ministers, including the country’s two vice presidents, were obliged to attend Parliament to answer questions that involved them collectively and individually.
Kasukuwere appeared before the committee on June 9, in a meeting that was characterised by heavy barbs between the two Zanu PF young Turks, who are said to belong to two rival party factions angling to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Laying further into Kasukuwere, Wadyajena said yesterday that although the minister had told his committee that the decision on the Marange Community Share Ownership Scheme was reached at a high level, spirited efforts to get a paper trail that would show that indeed companies made the said pledges yielded nothing.
According to Wadyajena, government officials had also told the portfolio committee that they only learnt about the pledges on the day of the launch of the trust.
Amid laughter from the floor, Wadyajena further revealed to Parliament how Kasukuwere had allegedly intimidated him during the June portfolio committee hearing.
“The effects of the honourable minister’s conduct, Mr, Speaker Sir, Honourable minister Kasukuwere had the effects of intimidating the committee and in particular the chairperson, by also alleging that the minister was an elephant being hunted by a rekeni (catapult) that this animal will turn back and haunt the chairperson…these utterances had the effect of instilling fear in the committee,” he said.
Playing to the gallery, the pumped-up Wadyajena also described how Kasukuwere, who was sitting next to Mnangagwa in Parliament yesterday — had allegedly broken the country’s laws.
“The honourable minister S Kasukuwere also claims to have recordings of the chairman’s conversations. It can only be assumed that the very conduct of recording the chairman’s private conversations is not only criminal and unlawful, but is also patently unconstitutional and a possible contravention of the provisions of the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament,” Wadyajena said.
If Kasukuwere — who sat stone-faced throughout the public bashing — is ultimately found guilty of breaking the stringent Parliamentary laws, he could face imprisonment of up to 12 months, or escape with a fine.
Former MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennet served 12 months in prison after he shoved Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in Parliament in 2004.-Daily news