By Paul Nyathi|After all the drama and hype around former President Robert Mugabe’s involvement on the alleged missing $15 billion diamonds revenue, the stingless Zimbabwean parliament has officially announced failing to bring the former head of state for a formal hearing on the matter.
The August House officially revealed on Monday that it has excused Mugabe from attending a hearing on the diamond leakage at Chiadzwa during his tenure as Head of State and Government.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy had summoned Mugabe to explain the alleged disappearance of diamonds worth $15 billion under his watch.
The former president absconded the hearing twice.
Mugabe had been given an ultimatum by the committee to attend the hearing on the same day, with its chairman Temba Mliswa threatening to charge him with contempt of Parliament if he failed to turn up.
Presenting a committee report in the National Assembly last week on the diamond sector in Zimbabwe for the period 2009-2016, Mliswa said after consultations, it had been resolved to excuse Mugabe from attending.
“The former President, His Excellency Cde RG Mugabe, was unable to attend at the appointed hour and the committee was due to meet to consider summoning him as a measure of last resort but after consultations with the Honourable Speaker, he was recused from attending,” said Mliswa.
The committee recommended that the next Parliament should pursue the $15 billion and summon Mugabe to explain himself.
“Closure on the alleged missing $15 billion diamond revenues is possible if the former President clears the air on the context he made the assertion that the country lost such amount. The Ninth Parliament must pursue the matter to its logical conclusion,” said Mliswa.
Parliament has since adjourned pending its dissolution on July 29 ahead of the general election slated for July 30.
On two occasions, Mr Mugabe failed to appear before the committee without giving any reasons prompting Parliament to write him a final letter.
At one time, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy resolved to send a final letter to Mr Mugabe warning that he could be arrested for contempt of Parliament if he continued to dodge the hearing.
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda confirmed that all business of the 8th Parliament had been concluded.
“It has been adjourned until the 29th of July when it constitutionally automatically dissolves. All the committees have concluded their business. It adjourned on the Thursday last week on the 7th of June but should a matter of importance arise, which requires the decision of Parliament, it can be recalled anytime before the 29th of July,” said Adv Mudenda.
Section 147 of the Constitution states that “on the dissolution of Parliament, all proceedings pending at the time are terminated and every Bill, motion, petition and other business lapses”.
Section 143 of the Constitution, which outlines the duration and dissolution of Parliament, states: “Parliament is elected for a five-year term which runs from the date on which the President-elect is sworn in and assumes office in terms of Section 94(1) (a), and Parliament stands dissolved at midnight on the day before the first polling day in the next general election called in terms of section 144.”