A messy public spat has erupted between two government ministers, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and Kindness Paradza over the ongoing Zanu-PF restructuring exercise.
Mliswa-Chikoka is being accused of abusing his ministerial and party provincial powers to impose her pony on the Makonde District coordinating committee (DCC) chaired by Kindness Paradza.
The move, done unprocedurally and allegedly in violation of the Zanu-PF constitution, left Paradza seething with anger. He has since written to the DCC declaring Mliswa-Chikoka’s move as null and void.
Interestingly, the two fought a neck-to-neck battle for the chairmanship of the province during the disputed December elections.
Mliswa-Chikoka, also Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister, imposed acolyte Ruth ‘Boko Haram’ Chikukwa, supposedly at the expense of Stuart Yasini whom the DCC had already co-opted.
This did not go down well with the Paradza camp.
In a hard-hitting letter leaked to NewZimbabwe.com, Paradza – who is also information deputy minister – slammed the meddlesome Mliswa-Chikoka for jumping the gun and interfering in Makonde DCC business.
“Please note that the Makonde DCC, at a properly constituted meeting last Saturday, co-opted Stuart Yasini as Secretary for Science and Technology. That decision still stands. I have since written officially to the province notifying them of our collective decision,” Paradza wrote.
“I am told there was a meeting yesterday in Chinhoyi between the provincial chairman and district leadership from Chinhoyi constituency, which was not sanctioned by me, as DCC chairman, and which I did not attend because of ZITF (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair) commitments. I am told this meeting nominated Ruth ‘Boko Haram’ Chikukwa to be in the DCC executive in place of Yasini. This is null and void,” he declared.
Paradza said the meeting called by Mliswa-Chikoka did not have the legal basis to co-opt anyone into the district organ.
“Only the appropriate organ has powers to co-opt a member into their rank and file. Yesterday’s gathering was not the appropriate organ to co-opt anyone into the DCC because it was not a legally constituted DCC meeting. Legally, therefore, Yasini remains co-opted as a DCC member,” Paradza said.
“In any case, Ruth failed national security vetting and this is precisely why she was disqualified to contest as a councillor in the last (26 March) by-elections.”
He reiterated Provincial Executive Committees (PEC) or districts have no authority to co-opt anyone on behalf of the DCC.
Paradza confirmed the tiff with Mliswa-Chikoka in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.
“If districts want co-options, they do it themselves. Why would anyone outside want to do it for us? If the province wants co-option, it does on its own. l don’t know if the minister doesn’t know this. It’s not right, she knows she has no right to do so as the constitution is very clear,” Paradza told NewZimbabwe.com.
“When they (PEC) did their co-options we didn’t interfere.”
Efforts to get comment from Mliswa-Chikoka proved fruitless as her mobile phone was continuously on voicemail.
Paradza and archrival, Mliswa-Chikoka, squared off in the race to elect a provincial chairman last December in a plebiscite the latter won amid allegations of vote buying.