‘MDC members like minority groups sidelined in Zim’

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By Audience Mutema

GOVERNMENT continues to sideline members of the opposition MDC just as it does to minority ethnic groups in its programmes including social safety nets, a legislator has claimed.

MDC Harare Central MP, Murisi Zwizwai demanded that his party members should be allowed to sit in committees that allocate resources especially in development programmes.

This came after Deputy Minister of Mines Polite Kambamura had told Parliament recently that government was in the process of negotiating a US$10 million loan from China to capacitate women, youths and war veterans in mining.

“We as MDC party, we are just like the Tonga, Shangaan and other minority groups who are not catered for by the government. I want to find out how we can be part of those committees so that when such resources come, especially in those mines…” Zwizwai said.

However, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda immediately put his foot down declaring he was not going to allow Parliament to be used to divide people along partisan or ethnic lines.

“I will not accept such questions because Members of Parliament are elected by the electorate. If you are Zanu PF in that constituency, you represent all. If you are an MDC Alliance MP with a constituency, you represent all people in that constituency,” Mudenda said.

Norton Independent legislator, Temba Mliswa jumped to Mudenda’s support indicating it was why he can freely attend both Zanu PF and MDC events including congresses.

“Thank you very much Mr Speaker Sir, No wonder why I attend the Zanu PF and MDC congresses. I am waiting for other parties (to convene congresses) because I represent everybody in my constituency,” said Mliswa.

Kambamura said government programmes are not implemented on partisan lines and there will be no discrimination on the mining capacity building project.

“I would like to start by answering the question on criterion which will be used to give equipment to miners. We are treating everyone as equal whether you are black, red, white or yellow.

“Irrespective of which party you are coming from, it is the same criteria that we are using, even in the issuance of mining title. Anyone who comes to our offices seeking a mining licence they get it not on the basis of their political affiliation,” said Kambamura.

“So, it is the same criterion that we are using, what we are much worried about is gold mobilisation to the government..”