By Anna Chibamu
THE Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) could face contempt charges after allegedly refusing to make presentations or respond to issues raised by the Primary and Secondary Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.
Committee chair Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga reported the matter to Speaker Jacob Mudenda this week.
According to the proportional representative MP, Zimsec, a parastatal, had on several occasions, ignored the committee requests and any other engagements.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, about a month ago when I was presenting on behalf of the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education Report to this House, I raised an issue of concern and that issue was that Zimsec which is a parastatal where we have asked as a Committee to have them make presentations to us, have constantly refused to do so and have come back to us and asked to engage it, the Director of Zimsec has constantly refused to do so.
“The excuse has been that we can only talk to them through the Ministry of Primary and Second Education,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
The lawmaker pointed out that parliament had a right of oversight over the examination body.
“The last time I had indicated that I may have to be forced to bring in a motion on contempt by Zimsec.
“As late as yesterday, Mr. Speaker Sir, we had written to the parastatal so that they can give us the Grade 7 results so that we can use them to analyse as a committee and to make representations to you as part of the report that we are bringing to the House.
“I have just received notification from the director right now and he has done exactly what we have indicated that they do all the time, for example indicate that they are not going to give us anything. We need to go through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“I think as a committee, we may and I am now formally bringing contempt of Parliament charges to Zimsec particularly the director,” she added.
However, the Speaker reminded the legislator that her communication channel was wrong.
Mushonga insisted that one L. Nembaware who is the Director of the Zimbabwe School Examination Council had been contacted without any success in getting the committee requests.
“Like I am saying to you, it is not the first time, I personally called him and explained to him that as a Committee, when we request for information, they are obliged to come back to us directly.
“I am beginning to just feel that this is a position where they have just decided that they will not deal with us as a Portfolio Committee and that he will continue to refuse to provide information when requested.”
Mudenda directed the MP to redirect the invitation to Zimsec chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje and copy it to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Permanent Secretary.
“If they do not comply, then we can charge them with contempt of Parliament,” said the Speaker.