LEGISLATORS have piled pressure on President Robert Mugabe to fire
Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, accusing him of
globe-trotting, failing to provide an oversight role over his ministry
and bunking Parliament.
During debate on a motion on the case of an estimated 200 Zimbabwean women stranded in Kuwait, opposition MPs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC Proportional Representation) and Paurina Mpariwa (Mufakose MP MDC-T) accused Mumbegwegwi of failing to attend Parliament to listen to the report on legislature’s delegation to Kuwait.
The motion was introduced in the National Assembly by the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kindness Paradza. Last month, MPs called for Mumbengegwi’s ouster from the ministry when Parliament was shown embarrassing images taken from Zimbabwean embassy in Ethiopia, with most of the building showing neglect.
This comes amid reports that most Zimbabwean embassies were in debt, with embassy officials struggling to make ends meet as they were also in salary arrears.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Mumbengegwi was spending more time accompanying President Robert Mugabe and neglecting his job in the process.
“I am tired of repeating the same story around the Foreign Affairs ministry, and it is either Mugabe takes us seriously on what we said about the ministry, for example, the minister is never in Parliament,” she said.
“He [Mumbengegwi] is not the President of this country, and so where the President goes, he does not necessarily have to go all the time. He should be sitting in his office dealing with some of the issues raised pertaining to embassies and let his deputy, Edgar Mbwembwe, go instead,” she said. Mpariwa added: “Mumbengegwi should be part of the discussion of this motion on distressed girls, but, unfortunately, he is never here in Parliament whenever discussions are held.”
The Foreign Affairs committee urged the ministry to set up an ad hoc special fund to assist in the repatriation of the young Zimbabwean women still holed up in Kuwait and other Arab countries, where they work as slaves.
Statistics from the Zimbabwean Embassy in Kuwait show that around 190 visas were issued by the Kuwait Embassy in Zimbabwe from July 2015, with 90 women still to enter Kuwait.