Wadyajena dresses down tobacco executive

By Costa Nkomo

A senior executive at Ethical Leaf Tobacco, Andrew Mupfawa has been accused of trying to stop a parliamentary committee hearing after attempting to meet chairperson Justice Mayor Wadyajena privately.

Wadyajena the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Climate, Water and Rural Resettlement told an oral evidence hearing into the problems facing players in the tobacco industry that Mupfawa had budged into a workshop the MP was attending with a view to “meet” him.

“You understand the anticorruption drive the country is undertaking, I’m the chairperson of this committee, you tried to see me on Sunday, you came to my workshop unannounced what was the purpose of the visit?

“Can you explain to the honourable members of this committee; they would want to understand?” Wadyajena asked.

A visibly shaken Mupfawa struggled to respond.

“Mr Chairman what we do as cotton and tobacco companies is that we have a relationship with members of parliament in terms of development of their areas…”

But Wadyajena would however have none of it and interjected: “So you wanted development at the workshop, I’m serious about this, it’s a serious matter that we are discussing publicly?”

As Mupfawa battled to answer questions to do with contractual agreements his company has with Tobacco Sales Floor as well as individuals aligned to the ruling Zanu PF party.

According to Wadyajena Mupfawa tried on two different occasions to meet with the Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator but to no avail a move Wadyajena presumed could have been meant to seek favour ahead of the tobacco company boss’s appearance before the committee.

Former Zanu PF national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje was singled out as a leading politician associated with Ethical Leaf Tobacco Holdings and Zimbabwe Cotton Consortium in which he reportedly is a board member.

Mupfawa argued Zanu PF members have rights to take part in economic activities.

“This is a diverse board. What don’t know Mr Chairman is whether Zanu PF members can also not be part of board members of companies. Its something that I wasn’t aware. But we thought its part of the creation of dynamic board which will then help towards our goals,” said Mupfawa.

Parliament also heard that Mupfawa is working as a general manager for two companies Ethical Holdings and Zimbabwe Cotton Consortium something the committee questioned.