Belarus Deal: Parliament demands tender documents
Legislators in the National Assembly have demanded that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works should bring tender documents that enabled them to purchase fire tenders from Belarus as well as the Pomona deal.
This follows questions on why the government has taken over the purchasing function of local authorities as well as imposing its will.
Harare City Council is at logger headers with the Ministry of Local Government over the issue of the fire tenders and the Pomona Deal.
Councillors rejected the Pomona deal but the Ministry has dug in arguing that the deal will continue.
As if that was not enough, the Ministry went further and procured fire tenders for the councils without consultations.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure said the government could have violated Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PORAZ) requirements.
He said there is a need for the ministry to bring the tender to the House for scrutiny.
‘’Madam Speaker, I am asking the Honourable Minister to furnish the House with the tender documents for the fire tenders that she said her Ministry is going to purchase on behalf of local authorities and also the Pomona deal tender documents so that Parliament sees whether they were in compliance with PRAZ regulations,’’ he said.
However, in her response to the request, the Deputy Minister of Local Government Marian Chombo said the government follows procedures.
‘’Thank you very much Honourable Speaker Ma’am and thank you very much Honourable Madzimure for the follow-up question.
‘’As I said before, I reiterate that we follow procedures, and you are asking about the fire tenders and Pomona deal– that is too specific. I request that you put that in writing, and I will be able to respond to it,’’ she said.
Her response did no go down well with Mutare Central legislator Innocent Gonese, who argued that Parliament procedures require that Ministers and Deputy Ministers should be conversant with what is happening in their ministries.
‘’My point of order emanates from the point that during question time on policy issues, we would expect Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers to be conversant with what is happening in their respective ministries to which they have been appointed to superintend as Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers respectively.
‘’Honourable (Caston) Matewu asked a question which was very clear and unambiguous, it related to the provisions of the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, which is above any other law or any other procedures.
‘’The Honourable Deputy Minister is not responding to the questions which have been asked both in relation to the original question and the supplementary questions, she is just skirting around the issues.
‘’I submit Madam Speaker, that as the Chair who is presiding over these august proceedings, it is incumbent upon you to direct the Honourable Deputy Minister to directly respond to questions on issues which must be at her fingertips.
‘’When we are dealing with such an issue which involves tenders for all local authorities, that is an issue which any Honourable Deputy Minister in terms of the Constitution, should be aware of and this request for it to be put in writing is simply being evasive.
‘’ I submit that you must direct her to respond to the questions or in the alternative that she must come up with a comprehensive Ministerial Statement which will deal with those issues relating to both the fire tenders and the Pomona deal which are very topical in our country.
‘’They are concerning the people of Zimbabwe and we have a government which is subverting the Constitution,’’ he said
Adding his voice to the issue, Harare East legislator Tendai Biti also inquired on the provisions that the Ministry is using to the procurements of the fire tenders and the Pomona deal.
‘’Can the Minister in his statement, clarify and explain to the House the legal provisions that he is acting on.
‘’Can he also explain why he is now allocating devolution funds when we do not have a devolution law actualising the provisions of Chapter 14 of the Constitution and Section 301 of the Constitution?
‘’So, if the Minister’s statement can speak to the law, why is thereby passing of the Procurement Act? Why is there by the passing of the autonomy of local authorities and why are devolution funds being used in the absence of a devolution law in the consistence of Chapter 14 and Section 301 of the Constitution?
Speaking on the same issue Harare North legislator Norman Markham said ‘’Madam Speaker, my point of order is, you recognized me before Honourable Madzimure, I have two points of order.
‘’I will just want to add a point of clarity to the Ministerial Statement and my issue is a very simple one. In order to get the tender, they must have received letters from the various local authorities applying for tenders.
‘’My second issue is even more important than all of that; why ordering tenders when we have got no water in the councils? Commenting on the request, the Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi said the Minister will address all the issues raised through the Ministerial Statement.–
Belarus Deal: Parliament demands tender documents