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Ministers at war over parastatals

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MOSES MATENGA
AND SIFISO MAPURANGA

 

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Ministers are at war over control of key parastatals in a development that has raised speculation on intent by some to personally benefit.

The war has gone on for years including during the days of former President Robert Mugabe where Ministers openly clashed on the matter with observers alleging the fierce battles to control the state entities were inspired by the desire to loot.

This week, the clashes were glaring as Skills Audit Minister Professor Paul Mavima confirmed the fight with his Higher and Tertiary Education counterpart Professor Amon Murwira over who runs the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF), National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) among others.

The named parastatals were formerly under the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry before President Emmerson Mnangagwa moved Mavima, a former Labour minister into the new Skills Audit portfolio where a clash ensued between him and Murwira.

Mavima confirmed the fights this week and accused unnamed instigators of starting the “fire” that he however, described as “uncalled for.”

“We want to work well together in government,” Mavima said.

“There are people stoking conflict between myself and Minister Murwira and it’s a serious fight,” he added.

Mavima said the fight was for the control of ZIMDEF, known during the Mugabe era as a “cash cow” for some government officials with the money also being used for political gains.

“Who will take control over the ZIMDEF? In whose hands will be NAMACO? What of other entities and we end up wasting time fighting yet we are one government. That can’t be. We cannot have that,” Murwira said.

This is not the first time Ministers have clashed over control of parastatals. In 2011, then Information Minister Webster Shamu had fierce

clashes with then Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa over the control of mobile network operators, NetOne and Telecel together with TelOne in a battle that spilled into Cabinet and threatened the shaky coalition government.

The country Auditor General has on several occasions flagged state run entities for leakages that have seen the country losing millions of dollars to unscrupulous actions with the involvement of political actors.

Among the companies said to have failed the test of transparency and accountability are NSSA, previously under Mavima’s former ministry, ZIMDEF, Air Zimbabwe among many others where political actors have been accused of using them as feeding troughs.

 

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