RBZ vehicles saga “explosive” – analyst

mps_4x4_cars.jpgParliamentarians across the political divide to return the cars
HARARE-Makhosini Hlongwane, the committee chairperson responsible for the receipt of second-hand vehicles handed over to new parliamentarians across the political divide has said his committee on Tuesday resolved only

This resolution by the 13 member committee comprising six from ZANU PF,
six from the MDC-T and one from MDC-M came hard on the heels of a
statement by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono for all legislators to
return the vehicles by Friday.

Initially the vehicles were supposed to have been handed to the
Ministry of Finance by Monday, but Gono pleaded with Finance Minister
Tendai Biti to extend the deadline to Friday.

"We held a meeting and it was unanimously agreed that we will comply
with the central bank’s directive to return the second-hand vehicles,
but only after all the other beneficiaries of the quasi-fiscal
operations have returned what they were given by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe," Hlongwane said. "It is going to be on a first in, first out
basis. We are going to be the last ones to handover these cars and it
has been agreed by the committee including those in the MDC formations.
If other beneficiaries do not hand over first then we are not going to
comply with the directive."

"We also resolved that if a person attacks us in the newspapers, we
will respond to that person in the newspapers." This was in apparent
refernce to a scathing attack by Minister Nelson Chamisa who castigated
the Members of Parliament for accepting the cars from the TBZ

Chamisa had said: "As far as we are concerned our loyal crop of MPs has
heeded the call not to accept the vehicles and we have assurances from
the government that MPs will have a mechanism of mobility as soon as
possible."

But Hlongwane, after the Tuesday meeting said no MP had returned any
vehicle to either the central bank, ministry of Finance or Lovemore
Moyo, the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

"I can assure you that not a single MP has returned the vehicles in
question and there is a directive that we are not going to do so until
others have met the same conditions," he said. "We asked for the
vehicles over ayear ago and the governemt failed to provide them so we
took it upon ourselves to approach the RBZ. Now our colleagues say we
should return the 50 vehicles allocated to us. No way."

The current state of affairs has widespread ramifications if not handled properly, said analyst Bonface Madziva.

"If this issue is not handled delicately it could lead to the collapse
of the government of national unity because legislators are already
deeply divided over the acceptance of these second hand vehicles,"
Madziva said.

"It could also be a test to the MDC-T leadership. Will they continue on
that path or will they just simply seek to regularise the issuance of
those vehicles. They should approach this matter with utmost care as it
is potentially explosive.

The Speaker of Parliament Moyo has since distanced him from the fight
between Biti and Gono saying that issue of vehicles "is not my baby."

On Monday, Gono issued a sarastic 20 pager insert in the government controlled Herald attacking Biti.

Gono said: "Equally, institutions that benefited under the Baccosi
Programme in cash or in kind, particulary those comapnies that got
foreign exchange support are hereby being forewarned that a recall of
those resources is imminent under the recovery momentum being
instructed upon the Reserve Bank by the relevant authorities."

Another was: "The cars should be parked at the Ministry of Finance
parking bays at the New Government Complex in Harare and the keys
handed over to the Hon. Minister of Finance’s office on the 6th floor
at the same complex."

He then went to attack the politicians saying it was a political
problem and not an econmic problem that dragged Zimbabwe into the
current mess.

By Special Correspondent

Post published in: News

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