By Anna Chibamu
PARLIAMENT’S Agriculture committee chair, Justice Mayor Wadyajena Tuesday ignored demands to recuse himself from interrogating the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) on how the millers used funds he alleges they received from government to repair GMB silos.
Millers last year wrote to parliament asking for the Gokwe Nembudziya legislator to recuse himself from probing them.
That was after he had accused the GMAZ chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara, during the hearing of ‘approaching state security agents’ to block him from interrogating Millers.
Wadyajena according to Millers was also acting unprofessionally by tweeting about GMAZ parliament proceedings on his personal twitter handle.
Millers, through their lawyers, say until parliament officially responded to their requests, that is when they would appear before any committee.
GMAZ said the issue which Wadyajena wants to probe rather falls under public accounts committee not agriculture because it concerns the use of public funds and there was nothing agricultural about it.
Addressing journalists after a closed door meeting, an angry Wadyajena said Musarara had, through his lawyers, indicated he would not appear before his parliamentary committee.
He showed the media letters from Musarara’s lawyers, another from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) refuting claims by GMAZ that it had rehabilitated the parastatal’s grain silos. A third letter was one from the RBZ showing the amount of money it availed to GMAZ between 2017 and 2019.
“We want to summon them before Parliament. They wrote through their lawyers Wintertons saying they cannot appear before this committee,” Wadyajena told the media.
“They think this committee is being unfair to them. They prefer to go before the Public Accounts Committee so they have engaged lawyers to fight us. They have been writing letters since 2019,” he said.
The Zanu PF Gokwe-Nembudziya MP was adamant Musarara should be dragged and appear before his committee.
“They have to appear. Committee resolved that we have to summon them to Parliament; so we have to do it. We are issuing them summons to appear before us,” Wadyajena insisted.
“GMAZ through its lawyers has written four letters and in the most recent one, they do not want me to chair the committee and I do not know why.
“We need information from them. They got money from government through RBZ, about US$27 million between 2017 and 2019. That is what we want from them.
“We need them to come and explain to us what they used the money for. They should have bought wheat or they did not buy wheat. That is what we want to find out.”
According to Wadyajena, another issue of concern was the repairing of GMB silos at the parastatal’s depots dotted across the country.
“There is an issue of rehabilitation of silos. GMAZ says it rehabilitated silos, but the Grain Marketing Board has refuted that.”
Asked on the specific GMAZ officials who should appear before his committee, Wadyajena said: “I do not know who GMAZ is. I do not work for GMAZ. I want GMAZ as an organisation.
“Anyone who can come before Parliament and represent them is welcome. These are not personal issues, so we do not have specific people who have to appear before this committee.”