Today an ICT parliamentary portfolio committee meeting had to be postponed after ZANU PF members of parliament disrupted proceedings, making it impossible for the meeting to be held.
The committee meeting was supposed to address the following issues according to one of the MPs present:
- NetOne Corruption – the NetOne board was allegedly supposed to be present to answer for the issues at the mobile network operator but they did not show up;
- Expensive data – the prohibitive cost of data was also going to be discussed at the meeting;
The ICT Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting was supposed to start at 2 pm but from the commencement of the meeting, MPs were banging on desks so that the meeting would not be held.
Initially, it was not clear why they were stalling because the press was not allowed into the meeting until 40 minutes after the meeting had begun. We asked Honourable Samuel Banda of Mount Pleasant Constituency why the ZANU PF MPs were stalling the meeting and this is what he shared:
Earlier in the morning three portfolio meetings were disrupted. Higher and Tertiary Education, Environment & Tourism, and a Public Accounts meeting.
The latter was eventually succesful but to us (MDC) it seems like ZANU PF doesn’t want any enquiry into cartels. There are problems at NetOne and they are trying to ensure we don’t discuss these issues.
It seems Econet is being protected because they have an olygopoly in the telecoms and mobile money market and they don’t want to see NetOne doing so well.Honourable Samuel Banda
When we got inside the meeting we managed to record the following footage:
To be fair to the ZANU PF MPs present, we weren’t able to interview any of them and when we attempted to do so some of the MDC MPs protested and said the press can only speak to the chair of the committee.
Even though I didn’t hear their side, I still insist what I saw today was one of the sorriest sights of my life and I couldn’t help but despair at the prospects of our nation if this is the leadership that is supposed to usher Zimbabwe into a new era or a “new dispensation” as it was initially titled.