Sunday, 3 November 2019

MINISTRY DETACHED FROM REALITY : MPs


MEMBERS of Parliament attending the 2019 pre-budget seminar have accused the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development of failing to execute its mandate and being detached from reality.

This followed a report by Chief Director in the Ministry, Retired Air Commodore Evan Dumba on Friday who said the Ministry was failing to get qualified people for ward development coordinators positions in Matabeleland North Province.

The Ministry is headed by Dr Sithembiso Nyoni who did not attend the seminar. Minister of State for Presidential Affairs responsible for Monitoring and Implementation of Government Programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo stood in for her.

In his speech, Rtd Air Commodore Dumba said: “We are finding it difficult to employ ward development coordinators in Matabeleland North after we advertised in July. It’s a fact that we have staff at provincial and district level but we don’t have ward development coordinators because we can’t get them. We are not getting people for the position.”

 Acting Women Affairs Minister Dr Gumbo had to intervene to allow proceedings to proceed as the Parliamentarians clamoured in unison demanding him to leave the podium.

Parliamentarians said the Ministry is not visible on the ground. 

“We have never heard about such an advert. This should be a serious Ministry but it is not doing its service to our people.

“We have youths and women who should benefit through the Ministry but are being disadvantaged,”  said Cde Stars Mathe, MP for Nkayi South in Matabeleland North.

Bulawayo MDC-T proportional representation MP Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga concurred saying the Ministry has too much on its hands.

“There is too much bundled together yet the Ministry is supposed to be mainstreaming gender and also has to disburse loans to women. Every Ministry has something to do with gender so such other roles should be separated from the Ministry,” she said.

The Parliamentarians implored Government departments to disseminate information through MPs and local leadership instead of relying on internet adverts as most parts of the province have no access to mobile network and broad transmission.

Said Senator for Matabeleland North Cde Madeline Bhebhe: “Why do they send adverts on internet when there is no network in Matabeleland North? We can’t rely on online applications in an area we know has no access to the internet. All districts have databases of youths and their skills so you can’t tell us you are failing to get people for those jobs.” 

Gutu East Constituency MP Cde Berita Chikwama challenged the Ministry to move away from armchair execution of duties.

“They should move out of the head office and go to communities. They can’t say they are failing to get people in Matabeleland North when the Ministry is not even visible on the ground,” she said.

Luveve MP Ms Stella Nkomo said there is a deliberate attempt to marginalise people from the province while Nkulumane MP Mr Kucaca Phulu said the Ministry officials had lied that they were failing to get the right people.

MP for Bulawayo Metropolitan Ms Siphiwe Ncube said: “Both the Minister and her Ministry are not serious at all. She can’t be absent from such a gathering every year yet it happens only once annually.”

Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba implored Ministry officials to visit all wards in the province to find out why people had not responded to the advert, saying there is a possibility the information did not reach targeted communities.

“Zimbabwe has educated people and you can’t tell us that you can’t find anyone for such jobs. Go to the wards and find out and probably you will find that you are using a method that they have no access to,” said Cde Chinotimba.

In response Dr Gumbo promised to engage Dr Nyoni to attend to the issues.

“I have heard your concerns and will take them to the Minister with the same vigour and spirit. The positions probably require people with 5 O Levels,” he said.

 Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda said it was worrying for a ministry to be run without a strategic plan.

“The Minister of Finance (Prof Mthuli Ncube) clearly stated in his address that the economy is driven by SMEs. These issues have an impact on our economy and I implore you as Minister of State in the President’s Office to upscale this issue because we can’t run a ministry without a strategic plan that must speak to your budget and agenda,” he said. Chronicle

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